Thursday, May 21, 2009
California State lawmakers and other elected officials are looking at a big pay cut in the future.
Eighteen percent. That's how much the Citizens Compensation Commission voted to slash elected officials' salaries -- though it won't affect current lawmakers; their pay can't be changed mid-term.
"Everybody has to share the pain," says Charles Murray, chairman of a group responsible for setting salaries.
The group voted recently to cut elected officials' pay by ten percent, but didn't have enough members to make the vote official. So Governor Schwarzenegger quickly appointed a few more.
Murray says they increased the cut to 18 percent because the state's deficit grew to $21 billion after voters rejected most of the special election ballot measures.
He says it was a fair - but tough decision.
"I mean this isn't fun, believe thee me. I'm sure all of us would have much rather gone in the meeting and given 20 percent pay raises," he says.
Legislators' base pay is currently about $116,000 a year.
The Commission's decision comes on the heels of voters approving a measure to ban pay raises for legislators when the state has a budget deficit.