The state’s Compensation Commission must have been inspired by the generosity Gov. Dannel Malloy exhibited last month when he gave dozens of senior officials 12 percent raises, and pushed several of his top commissioners’ salaries over $200,000.
The commission followed in Malloy’s footsteps by voting 7-1 Wednesday to recommend that the governor, the other five statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly should all receive 10 percent raises.
If the legislature adopts the commission’s recommendations, the salaries will go from:
- $150,000 to $165,000 for the governor;
- $110,000 to $121,000 for the lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general, secretary of state and comptroller;
- $28,000 to $30,800 for state representatives and senators.
The pay hikes would take effect after the next election – so 2016 for state legislators, and 2018 for the governor and other state elected officers at a cost of nearly $600,000.
In addition to their $28,000 base pay, Connecticut’s part-time legislators also receive annual stipends of $4,500 to $5,500 for expenses, and a majority also receive additional pay for serving in leadership positions.
Justin Bernier, a former Republican congressional candidate, cast the lone dissenting vote.
Bernier questioned the wisdom of the raises given that Connecticut’s governor already receives a generous salary compared to governors from states that are similar in size to Connecticut. The $165,000 pay would make Connecticut’s governor the 10th highest paid governor in the nation, he said.
But other members of the commission said the raises were necessary because the elected officials haven’t had a raise in 11 years, and said Connecticut could have a highly paid governor given how wealthy the state is.
It is unclear if the legislature will follow the commission’s recommendations, since Malloy is already scrambling to cut expenses to close a $120 million deficit for 2015.
Malloy and state lawmakers will also have to find a way to fill a $2.7 billion gap in the next two-year budget.