- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Maryland's next governor will get a $30,000 pay raise, the first salary revision since 1991, when it was set at $120,000 a year.
The increase, which will be spread out over four years, was proposed by a commission that meets every four years to recommend pay scales for top state elected officials.
Still pending in the legislature is a resolution to increase pay for members of the legislature.
Republican leaders tried to force a vote on the governor's pay plan Friday, but were turned back in the House and Senate by one-sided votes that closely followed party lines. The commission's recommendations take effect automatically unless rejected or reduced by the legislature.
The plan, which becomes effective Monday, will also increase the salary of the lieutenant governor from $100,000 to $125,000 by 2006.
House Minority Whip James F. Ports of Baltimore County asked the House to allow debate on the resolution so Republicans could try to make the case that the commission's recommendations should be rejected.
"Even after 10 years of no pay increase [for the governor], we rank No. 10" in the nation, Mr. Ports said.
A $150,000 annual salary would move Maryland up to the second position in the nation, behind New York, unless other states start paying their governors more money, he said.
The state's salary for the lieutenant governor ranks eighth in the nation and will potentially move up to No. 2 behind New York under the new plan.
Mr. Ports argued that the governor's salary should not be increased at a time when proposed pay increases for state employees are in jeopardy because of the state's financial problems.
Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Baltimore Democrat and House majority leader, told the House that during the 12 years when the governor did not get a salary increase, state employees got pay raises of 25 percent.
The attorney general, comptroller and treasurer receive the same pay as the lieutenant governor, but their salaries are set in the state budget, which has not been approved.
Democratic leaders in both houses noted that the salaries of the governor and lieutenant governor can only be increased once every four years during the session before a gubernatorial election.
Without an increase this year, the salary would be frozen at the same level for another four years, making it 16 years since the last pay revision, said House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., Allegany Democrat.
As for the proposal to increase pay for legislators, it appears they will accept the recommendation of the General Assembly Compensation Commission that the annual pay be increased by $11,991 over the next four years.
The salary for legislators can be changed only once every four years.
The plan will take effect April 8 unless rejected by the legislature or unless Democratic leaders don't bring it up for a vote.
It would increase salaries for 186 of the 188 lawmakers from the current $31,509 a year to $43,500 in 2006. The Senate president and House speaker, who now make $10,000 a year more than other lawmakers, would get an additional $13,000, topping out at $56,500 in 2006.
When the compensation commission made its recommendation in December, S. Nelson Weeks, the chairman, said a substantial increase was justified because legislative pay has not kept pace with inflation and Maryland has fallen behind other states because of small increases over the last 12 years.


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