Utahns think the 4.5 percent pay raise given state workers and teachers this year by the Legislature is about right, but they believe the 17 percent raises given judges and Gov. Norm Bangerter is too much, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
State employees haven't gotten a formal pay raise in several years, only one in the last four years.Bangerter took a small raise - recommended by an independent commission - his first year in office. He's turned down all other pay raises. The governor decided to take the raise offered this year by lawmakers.
Judges have been complaining about their pay for some years. Court advocates say they're having a difficult time attracting the best lawyers to the bench because the pay - high by average Utah standards - is low compared to what good attorneys make.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found that 63 percent of those surveyed said the 4.5 state employee/teacher raise was about right. Eighteen percent said it was too much, 16 percent said it was too little and 3 percent didn't know.
Sixty percent said the 17 percent raise for judges was too much, 31 percent said it was about right.
Seventy percent, a large majority, thought Bangerter's 17 percent pay raise was too much, 26 percent said it was about right. That's not too surprising considering that the governor has had a tough time in public opinion polls after he recommended a large tax increase two years ago.
He won re-election this November, but got only 40 percent of the vote in a close three-way race.
The governor's salary will go from $60,000 a year to $70,000 a year July 1, the date when the state employee raises take effect.
Judges get their raises in two steps, one raise July 1, another Jan. 1, 1990.
The commission on executive and judicial pay, an independent body, recommended a 25 percent raise for judges, but lawmakers wouldn't go that high. It recommended a 10 percent raise for the governor, but lawmakers gave more saying Bangerter should be paid close to what his top department executives get.
All judicial pay is based on what Utah Supreme Court justices receive. Their pay goes from $64,000 currently to $75,000 the first of next year. District judges' pay goes from $57,600 to $67,500. Circuit and juvenile court judges' pay goes from $54,400 to $63,750.
The average public education teacher's pay goes from $23,374 to $24,075.
The average college professor's pay goes from $33,694 to $34,705.
The Utah Legislature gave a 4.5 percent pay raise for state employees. Do you feel this percentage is too much, about right or too little?
Too much 18 percent
About right 63 percent
Too little 16 percent
Don't know 3 percent
Legislators gave judges a 17 percent raise. Is this too much, about right or too little?
Too much 60 percent
About right 31 percent
Too little 2 percent
Don't know 7 percent
The governor of Utah also received a 17 percent raise. Is this too much, about right or too little?
Too much 70 percent
About right 26 percent
Too little 0 percent
Don't know 3 percent
Sample size: 607; margin of error plus or minus 4 percent