An advisory commission tasked with examining the the salaries of state lawmakers has recommended giving a salary to boost to several elected offices, including the governor, House Speaker and Senate President.
The commission, created by legislation and tasked with reviewing compensation for the state’s elected leaders, recommended the governor’s salary be increased from $151,800 to $185,000, which would be the 10th highest gubernatorial salary in the nation. Additionally, the governor should be granted a $65,000 housing allowance, the rationale being that in many states the governor stays in a state owned and maintained residence. That is not the case in Massachusetts.
Ira Jackson, chairman of the commission and a dean at UMass Boston, said it was important to keep the governor’s salary competitive to attract strong candidates.
Under outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick’s current salary, 1,254 state employees make more than he does, according to Jackson.
“The governor’s decision is singularly important, demanding and twenty-four-seven,” said Jackson. “The decisions the governor makes affect virtually every citizen of the commonwealth.”
Additionally, the commission recommended increasing the Senate President and House Speaker salaries from $102,279 to $175,000.
The commission also recommended the elimination of so-called legislative per diems stipends, which Ira Jackson, the chairman of the commission and a dean at UMass Boston, labelled “simply indefensible” and “arbitrary.”
Instead of those stipends, which can range between $10 and $100 per day depending on distance travelled to and from the State House, the commission recommended increasing office expenses for legislators.
The total cost of the commission’s recommendations would cost the state about $934,000 annually.
It is now up to state lawmakers to adopt or reject the recommendations.
State House News Service reported Monday that Governor-elect Charlie Baker would “probably veto” the proposed salary increases if they came before him before the state’s financial situation improved.