Paul Gann is seeking to handcuff California government again through the initiative-petition process. This time the co-author of Proposition 13 is going after the salaries of both elected and appointed public officials. His initiative would, among other things, limit by state constitutional amendment the salary of the governor to $80,000 a year and of other elected statewide officials to $52,500. That idea is bound to have plenty of appeal among government-bashers and, on the surface, may not seem too unreasonable except that the idea of writing salaries into the Constitution is poppycock.
The governor now gets $49,100, and most other statewide officers $42,500. Those figures are to increase in 1987 to $85,000 and $72,500.
But the limit on the elected state officials is only a minor part of the new Gann initiative. It would require a statewide vote to raise any state official's salary. Worst of all, it would limit compensation for all other state officials and all city and county officeholders and appointees to 80% of the governor's salary, or a maximum of $64,000. Although the initiative does not specify the offices, it apparently would include justices of the state Supreme Court, all mayors and city managers, all county supervisors and county administrative officers, the president of the University of California, the chancellor of the California State University system, doctors at state hospitals and other facilities and so on.