131 elected California officials, including Governor Jerry Brown, are set to receive a two percent salary increase after the Citizens Compensation Commission, a panel appointed by the governor, approved the raises in a 4-1 vote on Friday.
The raises will take effect in December. Governor Brown’s salary will be increased to $177,467, according to CBS Sacramento. Other “rank-and-file” lawmakers will make $97,197 a year, up two percent from what were already the highest salaries for lawmakers in the country.
This is the second consecutive year that California lawmakers’ salaries will increase; the commission approved a five percent increase last year, after cutting lawmakers’ salaries by up to 23 percent during the recession. According to the Los Angeles Times, the commission said the raises were justified based on the state’s improving economy and balanced budget.
Commissioner Anthony Barkett was the lone “no” vote. Barkett said he was uncomfortable raising the salaries of lawmakers for another consecutive year while questions on the state economy’s health remain. He was also uneasy about raising lawmakers’ salaries after voters approved a large tax increase in 2012, according to the Times.
Commissioner Scott Somers said in the report that elected state officials should get the same pay increase as unelected state officials, who were already getting a two percent raise.
“If other state employees are getting that, I don’t see why we can’t be comfortable with that level [for elected officials,]” he said. “They get tarred when times are tough, so they ought to get some credit when things are improving.”