- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - Democratic legislative leaders want to revisit a more than two-year-old report that recommended pay raises for the governor, other constitutional officers and top lawmakers.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg said in a joint statement Tuesday that the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee would hold a public hearing Thursday on the report issued by a nonpartisan special advisory commission.

The report was issued in December 2014 but quickly receded into the background on Beacon Hill. No public hearing was held at the time, and the recommendations were never brought forward for a vote.

DeLeo and Rosenberg did not indicate in the statement whether they plan to support the pay raises, but said they “look forward to the hearing and testimony from experts and the general public.”

The Special Advisory Commission on Public Compensation said the governor’s salary should rise from $151,800 to $185,000 with a new, yearly $65,000 housing allowance tacked on.

Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states without an official governor’s residence or housing allowance.

A spokesman for Baker said Tuesday that the Republican governor and lieutenant governor “have no plans to accept a pay increase and will carefully review any legislation that comes to the governor’s desk.”

The panel also recommended increasing the salary for the attorney general and state treasurer to $175,000. The attorney general now draws a $130,582 salary, while the treasurer earns $127,917.

The panel also said the salary of the House speaker and Senate president should jump from their 2016 salary of $102,233 to $175,000, but didn’t recommend increasing the pay of other lawmakers.

The commission says the higher pay would help attract talented people to state government. They also noted at the time that 1,254 state workers earned more than the governor.

The panel made other recommendations, including a ban on earning outside income for the six statewide officeholders and the Senate president and House speaker and eliminating so-called “per diem” payments lawmakers can receive to help cover the cost of traveling to the Statehouse.

Instead, each lawmaker would receive $10,000 in office expenses if they live within 50 miles of the Statehouse and $15,000 if they live farther away.

The panel said at the time the total cost of the plan would be $934,343.

Massachusetts lawmakers just received a pay raise at the start of 2017 with the annual base compensation for members of the House and Senate going from the current $60,032 to $62,547, an increase of about 4.2 percent. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito declined the increase.

Under a 1998 amendment to the state constitution, salaries for legislators are tied to changes in the median household income for Massachusetts residents during the previous two-year period.

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