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Panel to consider an additional 10% pay cut for lawmakers

March 9, 2010 |  3:04 pm

Just months after California lawmakers had their pay and benefits cut 18%, the head of a state panel that sets salaries proposed Tuesday that elected officials lose an additional 10% in response to the state’s continuing economic crisis.

The proposal to reduce pay, living expenses and health insurance payments by 10% was made by Charles Murray, chairman of the state’s Citizens Compensation Commission. The panel, which is appointed by the governor, is scheduled to meet April 22 in Burbank to consider the new pay cuts, which also affect lawmakers’ car allowance, health benefits and per diem.

Murray noted that state employees remain furloughed three days a month and that the state has slashed funding to schools, social programs and health services as it continues to face billions of dollars in red ink.

"We’re in the hole again and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see everybody else is cutting back," said Murray, who runs a Los Angeles insurance firm. "Everybody has to share in the pain."

The panel angered many lawmakers when it voted last year to cut pay and per diem, the daily living expenses provided to them, by 18%.

That vote, which was unsuccessfully challenged by the Legislature, reduced the base salary of lawmakers from $116,208 to $95,291 on Dec. 7. Another 10% reduction would cut legislators’ salaries to $85,762.

The pay cut, if approved by the commission, would also apply to other state elected officials, including the governor, lieutenant governor, controller and attorney general. However, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger does not accept any pay for the job.

-- Patrick McGreevy