SALT LAKE CITY — After years of ignoring reports that the salaries for Utah's governor and other top elected officials need to be raised, state lawmakers appear ready to support a pay hike this year.
A bill to back a pay raise hasn't become public, but House Republicans voted to support the idea last week.
St. George Republican Rep. Don Ipson called Gov. Gary Herbert's $109,900 salary "embarrassing," according to the Deseret News.
Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, is planning legislation that would raise the governor's salary to $150,000. It would also raise pay for the lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer and state auditor to salaries ranging from $135,000 to $142,500.
Those officials currently make $104,400 a year.
The Elected Official and Judicial Compensation Commission released a report in December declaring the salaries for top officials haven't changed much in more than 10 years and are unrealistically low.
The commission made similar recommendations in 2012 and 2013, but lawmakers didn't raise the salaries, noting it's a politically difficult move.
During a meeting of House Republicans on Thursday, Wilson said the increases would not take effect until 2017, which is after the next gubernatorial election, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Herbert's office requested that so the governor would not have to sign a law boosting his own pay and instead it would increase whoever wins the next election in November 2016. Herbert has said he intends to seek re-election in 2016.
Salaries for governors vary across the 50 states, with Maine's governor at the low end earning $70,000 annually and Pennsylvania's governor earning the most at $187,250, according to data collected by The Council of State Governments.
Salary was one reason cited by former Lt. Gov. Greg Bell when he resigned from his post in 2013. Bell said he needed to return to the private sector to earn money for retirement and settle financial liabilities.
Wilson mentioned Bell's retirement while making his case to lawmakers and said the pay for the state's top positions must be high enough to draw strong candidates.
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