California state lawmakers and other top elected officials won’t be getting a pay increase for the first time in five years as the state faces a major budget deficit and mass unemployment induced by the coronavirus.
The California Citizens Compensation Commission, a public board that sets salaries for public officials, voted unanimously Thursday to keep officials’ pay flat for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Gov. Gavin Newsom will make nearly $210,000. State legislators will continue to collect nearly $115,000 a year while top officials such as the lieutenant governor will make $157,000 and the attorney general will take in roughly $182,000.
The flat salaries for elected officials follow a proposal by the governor to slash pay for state government workers by 10% due to the new recession. Newsom previously said he would take the pay cut, too.
Some members of the commission said an increase or decrease would not make a drastic dent in the state’s fiscal situation.
“Our economic state wouldn’t necessarily be impacted by the decision we make here today,” said commission member Nichole Rice before the vote.
Lawmakers are grappling over a $54.3 billion budget deficit due to the pandemic’s economic devastation. Newsom has proposed cutting billions from public education if the federal government does not kick in support.
State senators on Thursday rejected Newsom’s proposed cuts. The Senate’s plan includes a pay cut for state workers but doesn’t specify a number. Salaries for workers would be negotiated through a collective bargaining process, and savings would go to the state’s reserves.
The last time the commission approved a major pay cut was in 2012, when the governor and other top officials had their salaries cut by about 5%. None of the commission’s members said they supported an increase in salaries.
Salaries for lawmakers and top officials including the governor are still about a few thousand dollars short of what they made before the Great Recession in 2008.
Associated Press writer Adam Beam contributed to this report.