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Even With 73% Raise, Deukmejian's Paycheck Lags

January 25, 1987|RUSSELL SNYDER | United Press International

SACRAMENTO — Even after allowing himself a 73% pay raise this month, Republican Gov. George Deukmejian still earns less than governors in less-populated states and less even than 101 people on his own state's payroll.

The governor of the nation's most populous state, a father of three, began earning $85,000 when he was sworn in for a second term Jan. 5, up from the $49,100 salary he inherited from his predecessor, bachelor Jerry Brown, a Democrat.

Even with Deukmejian's pay raise, governors of at least seven other states--including North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania--earn as much or more than California's chief executive.

The governor of New York, which is second in population to California, makes considerably more.

A spokesman for New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said the Democrat's salary has been raised by the Legislature to $130,000 from $100,000, effective this month. However, "Gov. Cuomo is not going to accept the raise," Cuomo spokesman Tom Conroy said. "It's a statutory change but his income will remain at $100,000."

Conroy could not say exactly what Cuomo would do with the remaining $30,000. Cuomo's new lieutenant governor, Stan Lundine, apparently is going to accept his salary--$110,000 a year.

In Michigan, Gov. James J. Blanchard makes $85,000--but his pay is scheduled to go up to $92,664 this year and to $100,077 in 1988. Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson also gets a raise this month to $88,825 and can expect another raise in July to $93,266.

Deukmejian's pay will remain at $85,000 for the next four years because he is not permitted to sign into law a pay raise taking effect in his current term.

A few months after his first term began in 1983, Deukmejian signed a bill boosting the pay of the governor and other statewide elected officials. But under terms of the state Constitution, the raises could not go into effect until new terms began on Jan. 5, 1987.

California taxpayers have been stretching Deukmejian's salary, however, by picking up expenses connected with his Sacramento County home since private donors purchased it in 1984 for the governor and his wife, Gloria.

The state pays all maintenance costs for the $400,000 house, grounds, swimming pool, appliances and furnishings. Taxpayers also pay utility costs for the Deukmejians, including telephone bills, cable television, gardening and pool service. Homeowner's dues and insurance are also paid by the state.

Brown, Deukmejian's frugal predecessor, shunned a governor's mansion--which has since been sold by the state--in favor of an apartment across the street from the Capitol.

New Jersey's Gov. Thomas H. Kean makes $85,000 plus expenses and also has use of a governor's mansion, but does not live there.

Louisiana's governor, Edwin W. Edwards, has refused since 1984 to collect his $70,000 salary until his state's unemployment rate is brought into line with the national average.

Even with his new pay raise, Deukmejian's tax returns aren't going to rattle the state coffers. According to the controller's office, 101 people on the California state payroll are paid more than Deukmejian.

The list includes 83 judges and one judicial employee, two Civil Service workers and 15 people exempt from Civil Service.

Although he holds the state's top office, Deukmejian must look no further than his own top aide for evidence of pay discrepancies. Chief of Staff Steve Merksamer will make $2,552 more this year than his boss.

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