- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Gov. Paul LePage wants to more than double the salary of Maine’s next governor and slash the size of the Maine Legislature.

The Republican governor has submitted a bill that would increase the annual salary of future governors from $70,000 to $150,000. The bill would not affect LePage’s salary, the lowest among the nation’s governors.

LePage spokesman Peter Steele said the salary for the Maine’s governor has not increased since 1987. He said LePage believes the salary dissuades capable people who are not wealthy from running for the office.

LePage in a separate bill made public Tuesday wants to reduce the number of seats in the Senate from 35 to 25 and in the House from 151 to 100.

LePage would use the cost savings to boost lawmakers’ salary by 25 percent. Maine’s part-time citizen lawmakers currently serve two-year terms and receive a stipend of $14,074 a year for the first session and $9,982 a year for the second session.

The bill comes just three months after LePage survived an impeachment vote.

Legislative leaders on Tuesday told the Portland Press Herald that both bills were introduced too late in the session to receive a thorough vetting.

At 186 members, the Maine Legislature is one of the largest in the country, although not large by New England standards. The New Hampshire Legislature has 424 members. Rhode Island has the region’s smallest legislature, with 113 members.

Steele said the governor believes the current size of the Maine Legislature makes it “hard to work together, keep everyone informed and get work done.”

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