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Newsom and California lawmakers to get pay raises

Gov. Gavin Newsom, California lawmakers and other state officials will get a 4.2% pay rise this year after a state panel cited improving state finances and larger increases for base employees as decision factors.

The California Citizens Compensation Commission, which is appointed by the governor, voted 4 to 0 to approve the salary increases at its annual meeting on Tuesday, President Tom Dalzell said. The increases take effect in December.

Dalzell noted that other state employees were already receiving slightly higher increases.

“With all the other government employees who get money, I don’t know what the reason is for not giving it to them,” he said of the increases for elected officials. “By all accounts, California is doing very well in terms of vaccination and infection containment. The economy is shrinking. “

Lawmakers already had the highest base salary for state lawmakers in the country. The commission’s action this week brings the official salary of state lawmakers to $ 119,700.

The commission increased the governor’s official salary from $ 8,800 to $ 218,500.

The panel’s 4.2% increases go to 132 elected state officials, including the lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and members of the Equalization Board.

Dalzell said the commission’s action does not prevent elected officials from voluntarily giving up part of their wages, as a handful did last year amid cuts to the wages of grassroots workers.

Last year, Newsom accepted the same pay cut of over 9% as other civil servants, and five lawmakers called for voluntary pay cuts in 2020, according to the state comptroller’s office.

The latest salary increases have been questioned by Jon Coupal, president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

“The compensation only goes up and up,” Coupal said. “I think a lot of people would question whether or not we are getting value for our dollar.”

Newsom recently announced a budget surplus of $ 75 billion, on top of the $ 27 billion the state will receive from the American Rescue Plan, the federal aid law that President Biden signed in March.

The general fund surplus is fueled by taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents who have seen large capital gains on stocks and other investments.

The commission, which was established by state voters in 1990 as part of a package of government accountability measures, has traditionally based its salary decisions on the state budget and has no right to ” increase the years of deficit.

Last year, when the state faced a deficit, the panel did not change wages.

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