A legislative subcommittee wants Gov. Norm Bangerter to receive a 25 percent pay increase, but key lawmakers say the raise is likely to be reduced before a final budget is passed next week.
Bangerter, trying to avoid controversy, has done nothing to lobby for the raise. He has refused to take a stand on his salary until the Legislature completesits work.However, he notes he has not had a raise since his first year in office, and that one was recommended by outgoing Gov. Scott Matheson.
Last month, Bangerter made no comment as he gave the Legislature the recommendations of a commission studying the salaries of elected officials. But the commission recommended he receive only a 10 percent raise.
Bangerter currently earns $60,000 per year. The compensation commission recommended he receive $66,000. The Executive Offices Appropriations Subcommittee recommended he receive $75,000.
Members of the subcommittee said they felt the governor should earn as much as his department directors. Others said his salary should by in line with that of state Supreme Court justices.
The subcommittee turned the matter of Supreme Court salaries over to the Executive Appropriations Committee, which will decide with the help of political caucuses. So far, recommendations have bounced between $70,000 and $80,000. They are likely to land somewhere in the middle. Justices currently earn $64,000.
Meanwhile, state employees are likely to feel slighted by a large pay raise for the governor, considering their salaries are likely to increase only 3 percent. And the raise apparently would not sit well with the public. A Deseret News/KSL-TV poll conducted in January by Dan Jones & Associates showed more than three-fourths of Utahns did not want Bangerter to receive even a 10 percent raise.
House Majority Leader Rep. Craig Moody, R-Sandy, said he expects lawmakers to reduce the governor's raise before they take final action.
"I can almost assure you we will take it back," he said Thursday.
House Speaker Nolan Karras, R-Roy, said legislative leaders will discuss the matter Friday morning.
The commission, which released its report in December, recommended Utah's Supreme Court justices' salaries be increased from $64,000 to $80,000 yearly; Courtof Appeals judges from $60,800 to $76,000; district and juvenile court judges, $57,600 to $72,000; and circuit judges, $54,400 to $68,000.
Besides Bangerter's pay increase, the commission recommended that Lt. Gov. Val Oveson's pay go from $50,000 to $52,500; Attorney General Paul Van Dam's pay should go from $54,000 to $56,000; and State Treasurer Ed Alter's and Auditor TomAllen's pay should go from $51,000 to $53,000.