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California lawmakers remain highest paid, so raises unlikely

March 14, 2012 |  3:08 pm

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Gov. Jerry Brown’s $173,987 salary is slightly lower than the pay of his counterpart in Pennsylvania, but California legislators still have much higher salaries than lawmakers in other states, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The state survey will be used by the voter-approved Citizens Compensation Commission to determine in the coming weeks whether to grant pay raises to elected state officials, but a couple of panel members said it is unlikely they would vote to hike salaries given the state’s current budget woes.

"I don’t think the state is ready to give any pay raises -- definitely not," said Commissioner Kathy Sands, a former mayor of Auburn.

The commission is scheduled to hold its annual meeting March 29. The survey conducted by the California Department of Personnel Administration said the Pennsylvania governor’s salary is $177,888, the highest in the country and nearly $4,000 more than the pay of Brown, who has the second biggest paycheck. New York's governor is legally entitled to a salary of $179,000, but voluntarily takes a 5% pay cut.

Brown's salary is higher than the pay of governors in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio, the survey found.

Commissioner Charles Murray said it is "most unlikely" that he would vote to give Brown or legislators a pay raise. "If he (Brown) can bring his salary down close to what Gov. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger received I’d be happy,’’ Murray said of the former chief executive who did not accept a salary.

The survey found that the $95,291 base salary for California legislators remains higher than in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota and Ohio. The salary is $60,584 in the latter state. The survey does not include the state with the second highest pay for lawmakers, New York, where the base salary is $79,500, but where several legislators get premiums for serving in leadership jobs.

The survey also found the California secretary of state is the highest paid of eight states surveyed, but the lieutenant governor, controller and treasurer are also paid less than their counterparts in Pennsylvania.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photograph: Gov. Jerry Brown is the second highest paid governor in the country, according to a survey to be used to determine whether he should get a raise. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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