California elected officials are getting a 3 percent pay increase for the sixth straight year, pushing Gov. Jerry Brown's already highest-in-the-nation salary for a governor above $200,000 just before he leaves office.
A citizens board approved the pay hikes Tuesday, bumping the governor's annual salary from $196,000 to $202,000 starting in December.
The lieutenant governor will be paid $151,000. Rank-and-file members of the Legislature will get a $3,500 raise to about $110,000, while leaders make more. California lawmakers already were the highest paid in the nation.
Lawmakers also earn a tax-free per diem while the Legislature is in session, currently $192 per day, which was not affected by Tuesday's action.
In approving the raise, commissioners noted California's strong budget and thriving economy. Thomas Dalzell, chair of the California Citizens Compensation Commission, said the panel adopted "incremental, modest, symbolic increases" and noted that many state government workers were getting larger increases.
"There are plenty of people who are getting more than (the legislators' raises) around the state, and people getting less. I think 3 percent is fine," said Dalzell during the commission's annual meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The attorney general, controller, treasurer, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction and insurance commissioner will also get raises, as will members of the Board of Equalization, a state tax panel.
Brown's pay is up $36,000 since 2013, while lawmakers are taking home $20,000 more annually.
However, their pay still hasn't returned to levels before the recession, when the governor's salary peaked at $212,179 and lawmakers' at $116,208.