The salaries of California's state lawmakers and constitutional officers weren’t exempt from years of state budget cuts. But some of those cuts were restored today when a state commission voted to give lawmakers a pay raise. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.
It may be a happier holiday season for state elected officials. The California Citizens Compensation Committee has approved a five percent raise, which will take effect in December.
Lawmakers earn more than $90,000 a year, which makes them among the highest paid in the country. But that's nearly 25 percent less than they took home before the recession and Commission Chair Thomas Dalzell says their salaries are lower than many California local officials.
"Area legislators are paid less than the County Supervisors in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Alameda,” says Dalzell.
Still, Commissioner John Stites was not moved. He says with the economy still so uncertain, it’s not the right time to hand out raises.
“And until we see some significant indications that this economy here is recovering, I recommend that we have no raise. No reductions, but no raise,” says Stites.
State legislators also receive tax-free per diem payments that can add between $25,000 and $30,000 to their compensation. The Governor currently makes more than $165,000, down from $212,000 before the recession. The Commission also voted to increase health benefits for elected officials.