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Panel restores some pay for lawmakers, governor

Posted: June 19, 2013 6:00 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2013 6:00 p.m.
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The commission that sets the pay for California lawmakers and statewide elected officials such as the governor and attorney general voted Wednesday to restore a 5 percent pay cut it made to salaries last year as state employees faced furloughs.

Wednesday's vote was 5-1 in favor of restoring the wages to 2011 levels. Chairman Thomas Dalzell, a labor attorney appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, opted not to vote because a tie-breaker was not necessary.

The base salary of rank and-file lawmakers has dropped from $116,208 five years ago to $90,526, while the governor's salary has declined from a high of $212,179 in 2008 to $165,288.

Lawmakers now will make $95,290 a year while the governor will be paid $174,000.

Members of the California Citizens Compensation Commission cited the state's improving finances and the lack of a deficit in the budget that lawmakers approved last week.

Commissioner Scott Somers noted that the 5 percent pay cut made in 2012 "was very heavily driven by the financial condition of the state," but said he struggled over whether now is the right time to raise salaries in light of the recent discussion over the state budget. Brown, a Democrat, has urged lawmakers not to restore all the spending cuts for state programs made during the recession.

"How do we now say, 'But by the way, we've got enough money to restore the 5 percent cut for you guys,'?" he said. "That feels a little funny to me. ... That's a little bit of a dilemma for me."

Commissioner John Stites, who was appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was the lone member of the panel to vote against the pay increase.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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