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California pay panel says raises for officials unlikely this year

The California Citizens Compensation Commission delays a vote until June. But panelists say they're unlikely to OK raises so soon after the budget crisis.

March 21, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
  • Gov. Jerry Brown gives his State of the State address at a joint session of the Legislature on Jan. 23. Raises are unlikely this year for Brown, legislators and other officeholders, the state panel that sets salaries has announced.
Gov. Jerry Brown gives his State of the State address at a joint session of… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

SACRAMENTO — Members of the panel that sets salaries for California officials said Thursday that raises are unlikely this year for Gov. Jerry Brown, legislators and other officeholders.

The California Citizens Compensation Commission delayed a vote on the matter until June, after the state announces whether it has the budget surplus required before salaries could be increased.

The economy is still volatile, said commission Chairman Thomas Dalzell, and the seven-member panel is unlikely to approve raises so soon after the state's budget crisis had abated.

"I suspect the consensus will be status quo for a year and see whether the turnaround continues," Dalzell said.

Commissioners Charles Murray, John Stites II and Nancy Miller said they planned to oppose any raises.

"Given the state of our economy, I don't see the basis for anything but maintaining the status quo at this time," Miller said.

The panel has cut the pay of the governor and other elected officials by 23% during the last four years, citing the state budget constraints that forced reductions in pay for other government workers. This year, the state expects a surplus.

California legislators still receive the highest base pay in the nation: $90,526. Pennsylvania's legislators get the second-highest base salary, $82,026, according to a survey by the commission staff. Some states, including California, pay more for legislative leadership positions.

California lawmakers also receive about $30,000 annually in tax-free per diem payments for expenses.

Although Brown governs the most populous state, his $173,000 salary last year was lower than that of six other governors, according to the survey. Pennsylvania's governor received the nation's highest pay, $183,255.

This year, Brown's pay is $165,288.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is paid $143,571, lower than the salaries of several other state attorneys general, and lower than the salaries of city attorneys in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento.

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