Pay raises for governor, legislators in the works, as revenues improve slightly

Pay raises for governor, legislators in the works, as revenues improve slightly

State House 2013Salary hikes for Maryland’s next governor, members of the General Assembly and other statewide officials elected next year are set to be decided next week by two compensation commissions specially appointed for this task.

None of these officials have had pay hikes since 2006, and the legislature rejected recommendations from these same commissions four years ago to increase the salaries slightly.

“Are they really going to pay attention to us this time?” asked Robert Neall, who was elected chairman of the Governor’s Compensation Commission in his absence but spoke to the other members by speaker phone at their first meeting Wednesday night. Neall had served on the commission four years ago, and “I feel like Charlie Brown with the football.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley currently is paid $150,000 a year, the 12th highest governor’s salary in the nation, and lower than that paid the chief executives in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia.

CORRECTED 12/19/2013: The commission four years ago recommended the governor’s pay go up $5,000 in the last two years of every year over the next four-year term to $160,000 $170,000.

The lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general and state treasurer all make $125,000 a year, and the commission four years ago suggested their salaries rise by the same percentage as the governor’s.

Legislators now make $43,500

Delegates and senators in Maryland make $43,500, 13th highest in the nation, and fourth highest for a part-time legislature. The Senate president and House speaker make $56,500.

Four years ago, the General Assembly Compensation Commission recommended that the legislators get a $2,000 pay hike in 2013, but only if the state unemployment rate fell below 5%, which did not happen.

The legislature’s presiding officers immediately rejected that plan due to the poor economic conditions and the fact that state employees had been getting no pay hikes and unpaid furloughs, essentially temporary pay cuts.

Members of both commissions seem inclined to support pay increases again. State employees got raises of 2% and 3% in the last two years.

State revenues, economy increasingslightly

The revenue picture for the state government also is better due to “a slowly improving economy,” State Comptroller Peter Franchot said Wednesday at the meeting of the Board of Revenue Estimates. The board approved revenue estimates for this year and next that were up a net of $42 million.

The governor must abide by these estimates in preparing his budget to be submitted in January.

“Most of the impediments of economic growth … appear to be behind us,” said Franchot, especially if Congress approves a long-term budget solution worked out this week. Yet, the ever cautious Franchot said, “Maryland’s economy remains exceedingly challenging,” with slow growth of both wages and retail sales.

“The sky is clearly brightening,” said State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who serves ex officio on both the Board of Revenue Estimates and the Governor’s Compensation Commission.

–Len Lazarick


About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Barnadine_the_Pirate

    State employees did NOT get 2%-3% pay raises in the past two years. They got an end to pay cuts (furloughs) and then a lump-sum cash payment of a couple hundred dollars, along with a few extra paid holidays. Given staff reductions relative to the increase in demand for services, the extra paid holidays are sort of a sick joke — that just mean more work to do, less time to do it. The State has not paid a 401(k) match since 2007, there have been no step increases or COLAs since that time.

  2. snowmaggedoned

    We are how many billions of dollars in debt and they want to take what few extra dollars they have “confiscated from the citizens” and give themselves a pay raise without trying to pay down on those debts???????

  3. higgy01

    With the average salary across the nation shrinking by some 3 percent why should the commission even contemplate increasing legislative salaries. Additionally, the way the legislature and governor has attempted to destroy Maryland through wasteful spending and irresponsible taxation they should be giving at least some of they ill-gotten salaries back.

  4. geeze

    Pay raises ” as revenues improve slightly”? Didn’t they raise taxes, toll rates, and implement new taxes like the rain tax? Whata coincidence revenues are improving slightly. It must be their outstanding management and leadership to improve the MD economy.
    Outstanding job – keep up the great work.

  5. abby_adams

    Lovely, pay raises contemplated while we face yet another buck busting budget crafted by these overpaid, part time legislators in a few short months? Let’s make a trade, we’ll “overlook” the lack of verascity from this body & give them a few bucks more IF they sign on to TERM LIMITS. It’s called “compromise”, an overused phrase we constantly hear from politicians.

  6. SandyH20

    Why not? They have been productive and doing all they can for the citizens and non citizens of Maryland. they deserve all the raises they can bribe out of the “commission”.

  7. Michael

    Pay raises for these elected officials should be based on the performance of the state financially. Since Maryland is not progressing, there is no reason for any of these officials to get a dime of increase.

    • SandyH20

      Since when did government issue anything with performance in mind? Why do you want to rock the ship that keeps us all safe and sound?

      • Michael

        I certainly hope that was meant sarcastically, since I don’t consider Maryland’s politicians to be doing anything to keep us “safe and sound”.

        The truth of this whole matter is that thanks to the tax and spend politics of the administration and the rubber stamp that is our legislature, most employers are unable to give raises to those of us that work for a living. Why should the politicians that created this environment get a raise when we can’t?

        • SandyH20

          What other reason do people live in Maryland except to fund the government? We have no other purpose in this state do we?

  8. sentner

    So… They raise taxes because the state is not collecting enough money to meet demands… And they want to use some of that additional tax revenue to pay the people in charge a higher salary!?

  9. md observer

    I don’t support any incentive that fosters “politician” as a career choice.

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