California Politicians to Receive 5.3% Pay Raise

California’s lawmakers will receive a 5.3% pay raise today. The raise was approved by a citizen panel that makes determinations about state officials’ salaries. “The base salary for most legislators will go from $90,526 to $95,291 — still below the $116,208 that lawmakers received in 2007, before their pay was cut during California’s budget crises.”

The LA Times reports that “a dozen” legislators say they will not accept the raise in light of the recent tax hike approved in November. 

“I didn’t think taking a raise … when we had just raised taxes on all Californians with Prop. 30, really made sense,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), one of a dozen legislators who said they were turning down the increase.

In addition, many state workers will receive a pay raise of 4.5% phased in over the next two years. 

“Since California’s economy continues to struggle, with many Californians unemployed or underemployed, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to accept a pay raise,” state Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) wrote to the state controller, asking that no raise be included in his paycheck.

But some are more than happy to accept the increased compensation.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) are taking their pay increases.

“I have accepted previous decisions by the independent Citizens Compensation Commission to adjust legislative pay and benefits,” Steinberg said in a statement. “I will continue to accept their decisions now.”

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) will see his salary increase from $163,288 to $173,987.  “The governor intends to accept the Citizens Compensation Commission’s decision,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown.

In addition to Allen and Wyland, Sen. Mimi Walters, an Irvine Republican, is refusing the pay hike, as are Republican Assembly members Jim Patterson of Fresno, Eric Linder of Corona, Rocky J. Chavez of Oceanside, Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks and Allan R. Mansoor of Costa Mesa. Democrats include Assemblyman Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova and state Sens. Richard Roth of Riverside and Lou Correa of Santa Ana. Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) said he is donating his raise to charities in his district.