Leading occupation, very low pay: No governor tends to make considerably less than Maine’s

Two Maine lawmakers are launching a bipartisan drive to enhance the governor’s pay back, the hottest in a long collection of makes an attempt to elevate the cheapest gubernatorial salary in the nation.

Maine’s governor would make $70,000 a year, a income that has not budged in 36 many years. Each Republicans and Democrats have pushed for boosts in the earlier, but people initiatives have died in committee.

This session, Rep. William Bridgeo, D-Augusta, is teaming with Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, on a bill to pay out the governor $125,000.

The Maine Structure would reduce this kind of a salary improve from quickly applying to the sitting down governor’s income, so the proposed improve would not acquire influence until finally a new governor requires business office in 2027.

“I feel it tends to make perception,” Bridgeo mentioned. “It’s no huge deal. We’re liable for environment the salary for the governor’s place of work and we need to acquire that critically. We should really want to inspire great individuals to run for the occupation and not restrict the pool artificially by a ridiculously very low salary.”

Bridgeo stated he’s extended been bothered by the low wage. He at first wanted to enhance it to the ordinary of Vermont and New Hampshire, which would have been about $165,000, but adjusted his mind immediately after talking with Millett.

“I know when to adhere out my hand and say we have a offer,” he explained.

Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, stated he did not have a posture on the proposal. Household Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, appeared open to the thought, saying that lower salaries for the governor and legislators restrict who can find the money for to maintain community workplace.

“I imagine in basic the wage for governor and legislators is way too very low,” Faulkingham explained. “If we want a better representation of the general public, we have to have to enhance salaries so doing the job-class people today can provide in these positions. I’m not certain what that stage requirements to be, but surely bigger than the latest premiums. I look forward to seeing exactly where the committee function sales opportunities on this problem.”

Spokespeople for Gov. Janet Mills, who is term-limited from jogging for reelection, did not reply to thoughts about the governor’s watch of the salary for her work and irrespective of whether she supports increasing it for the up coming governor. Mills acquired $125,000 as attorney general ahead of she was elected – and took a major spend slice – in 2018.

As governor, Mills oversees an once-a-year condition price range of $9.4 billion and the equivalent of about 13,000 total-time condition personnel.

The governor hires the top executives who operate the state agencies furnishing services from law enforcement and crisis reaction to social solutions and environmental defense. She sets the plan priorities for point out governing administration, has the electrical power to situation govt orders and can make your mind up which charges turn into law. It’s a occupation that arrives with no cost government housing and publicly funded doorway-to-door transportation, but it also will come with weighty duties, especially through emergencies like the pandemic.

A distinctive state commission that researched compensation for the governor, lawmakers and judicial workers in 2019 stated Maine’s governorship will come with additional electric power than lots of other states, simply because Maine lacks a lieutenant governor to share executive power and responsibilities.

The income proposed by Bridgeo and Millett is decreased than the one particular advisable by the exclusive state fee that examined compensation again in 2020. That fee named Maine’s $70,000 salary “embarrassingly low” and suggested just about doubling it to $135,000.

The bill also would maximize the following governor’s nontaxable price account by $10,000 to $40,000. 

Mark Brewer, chair of the political science division at the College of Maine Orono, claimed boosting fork out is a politically fraught difficulty.

“Politicians are reluctant to raise community officials’ salaries, specifically their have but also for other business holders, because of to worry of blowback from constituents and criticism from opponents in potential elections,” he mentioned. “That staying claimed, the Maine governor income is in fact ridiculously reduced and completely ought to be elevated appreciably.”

Maine’s governor is the nation’s lowest paid out by a broad margin. Colorado’s governor is the next most affordable compensated, at $92,700, followed by Arizona’s governor, at $95,000, according to the Council of Point out Governments.

Governors in other New England states acquired at least 2 times as a great deal as Maine’s governor in 2021: $143,704 in New Hampshire, $184,100 in Vermont, $185,000 in Massachusetts, $150,000 in Connecticut and $147,755 in Rhode Island, in accordance to the council. New York’s governor is the nation’s highest paid and produced $225,000 in 2021.

Maine’s governor’s wage was previous elevated in 1987. If it had kept speed with inflation, it would now be earlier mentioned $188,000.

Additional than 2,400 Maine condition personnel earned a lot more than their governor in 2021, in accordance to point out payroll records. That includes all the commissioners who do the job at the governor’s pleasure. Most of individuals department heads receive amongst $145,000 and $188,000. The governor’s two-human being communications and media personnel made $117,720 and $99,000 that year.

Matthew Davis, clinical director of the Maine Division of Well being and Human Expert services, was the state’s greatest-paid out worker, earning $320,000, adopted by Chief Professional medical Examiner Mark Flomenbaum, who attained $299,000. Maine Supreme Judicial Court docket judges gained about $150,000.

At the very least five charges to raise the governor’s income had been submitted in the past 3 Legislatures. All of them have been unanimously killed in committee.

John Martin, a retired point out lawmaker and an influential longtime Dwelling speaker, experimented with twice in the previous 3 legislative sessions to raise the pay.

The Democrat from Eagle Lake sponsored a monthly bill in 2018 on behalf of former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who when likened becoming governor in Maine to taking a vow of poverty. “I feel like a priest or a nun, you know,” LePage explained in 2017.

Martin’s invoice would have greater the governor’s salary to $150,000 and also raised meal and lodging stipends for lawmakers. It would have left the governor’s nontaxable price account intact.

Martin provided the same monthly bill the subsequent year, this time growing mileage reimbursements to sweeten the offer for lawmakers.

Neither bill made it out of committee for motives that are not clear.

“I really do not know,” Martin said past week. “Some folks sit there and they vote. No comment.”

Ned Claxton, a former Democratic senator who chaired the Condition and Neighborhood Governing administration Committee when it voted in opposition to all those costs, explained lawmakers frequently opposed rising the governor’s wage with no also elevating their individual. But lawmakers had been equally concerned about how voting to increase their possess shell out would be received by the general public.

“The voting community wouldn’t guidance that move,” Claxton said last week of lawmakers’ issues at the time. “It’s heading to be hard to get the requisite amount of men and women to support it partly mainly because of the political appear.”

Some lawmakers have proposed expenses to raise legislative salaries as perfectly. The Legislature has presently enacted an unexpected emergency law this session expanding members’ reimbursement premiums for mileage, lodging and meals. That law, signed by Mills on Feb. 13,  did not consist of any improve to the governor’s price account or reimbursement rate.

Bridgeo explained he hopes lawmakers will agree this 12 months that the time is proper to at least boost the spend of the state’s prime executive.

“Nobody understands who the up coming governor will be,” he explained. “I don’t assume we’re accomplishing something serious. I don’t imagine each 40 years is much too generally to make adjustments to the wage.”

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