Pay raises for Assembly, governor rejected by House committee

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House lawmakers unanimously rejected proposals to raise the salaries of state elected officials Thursday.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee voted to reject salary increases for the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, treasurer, attorney general, as well as for the General Assembly.

The proposed raises were immediately unpopular with the people they were intended to benefit. Gov. Martin O’Malley said soon after his pay recommendation came out that he would not accept it as long as the economy continues to struggle.

“I don’t intend to take that,” O’Malley said in December. “Certainly while we’re going through furloughs and layoffs and going through this misery, I don’t intend to take that.”

And immediately after the pay recommendations for the General Assembly were released last month, House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller issued a strongly-worded statement rejecting any hike.

“Any legislative consideration of a pay raise at a time when we are preparing to make more than $1 billion in cuts to the budget is inappropriate,” Miller said.

The General Assembly Compensation Commission recommended a $2,000 raise in 2013, hiking legislative salaries to $45,500 a year, but only if unemployment came down to 5 percent in 2012.

The governor Maryland voters elect this year would have gotten a $5,000 pay raise in 2013 and 2014, bringing the salary up to $160,000. The Governor’s Salary Commission unanimously recommended the pay hike in December.

The seven-member commission also recommended similar 3.3 percent and 3.2 percent pay increases for the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller and the state treasurer, bringing their salaries to $133,333 in the final year of the next four-year term.

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