Panel recommends pay hikes for Georgia lawmakers
ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia committee is recommending that state lawmakers receive $12,000 raises in 2019.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the compensation committee is also recommending that statewide elected officials and the House speaker have their pay increased by $20,000 to $43,000.
The compensation committee compared statehouse salaries with those in Georgia county courthouses as well as states across the nation.
Georgia’s salaries were above average in some areas such as secretary of state; in the middle for lawmakers and lieutenant governors; and low for attorneys general, the report found.
Georgia lawmakers have long complained about their base salary of $17,342, and they’ve often used it as a reason they quit to make more money, the Atlanta newspaper reported. Many wind up lobbying their former colleagues, making 10 or 20 times what they earned making laws.
The panel is recommending that legislative pay rise to $29,908.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose offices would see big raises, are running for governor. So is state Sen. Michael Williams. Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, is running to replace Cagle.
The lieutenant governor, who serves as president of the Senate, would be paid $135,000, rather than the current $91,000.
House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, is not running for higher office. Whoever is speaker in 2019 would see the pay jump from $99,000 to $135,000. Probably just as importantly, the panel recommended the person holding the post be allowed to receive a pension from the State Retirement System.
Other statewide elected officials would receive raises of between about $20,000 and $26,000. The state attorney general’s salary, for instance, would rise from $139,000 to $165,611. The secretary of state’s pay would go to $147,128 from $123,637.
The panel said if benefits are included, the jobs are already worth more than $200,000 to statewide elected officials.
Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com