(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania lawmakers, judges and other government employees received an automatic raise this week, the largest since 1991.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly’s 253 lawmakers received a 5.6% increase that boosted annual salaries for non-leadership positions by more than $5,000, to $95,432.
Salaries for committee chairs increased to $108,819 annually, while pay for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, and House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, rose to $148,976.
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The increases make Pennsylvania lawmakers the third highest paid in the country, behind California and New York, which have base legislative salaries of $114,877 and $110,000, respectively.
The automatic increases are tied by state law to the consumer price index and involve a total of more than 1,300 positions in state government, from the governor and his cabinet members, to statewide elected officials, and state and county judges, according to the Associated Press.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer received the biggest raise of over $12,000, bringing his pay to nearly $234,000, while the high court’s other six justices are now paid $227,000.
Last year, lawmakers approved legislation to freeze their automatic raise, which would have been less than 1%. State Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, sponsored that legislation and attempted to pass the same legislation this year, without success.
The measure was unanimously approved by the House State Government Committee, but languished on the House floor.
Ryan told FOX43 he sponsored the bills to draw attention to the state’s budget deficit.
“It has a total impact of about $20 million, … and so what I wanted to do was show that the commonwealth in in pretty serious financial distress,” he said.
“I think it would’ve passed unanimously, but I think our leadership team wanted to see what was going to be the grand scheme,” he said. “Where does this end and how do we get government spending under control?”
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the pay increase for 2022 is the largest year-over-year increase since 1991. The increase is three times the raise state officials received last year, according to the AP.
The increase is three times the raise state officials received last year, according to the AP.
The news wire reports federal data through August shows average weekly earnings for private sector workers in Pennsylvania increased 4.4% since the same time last year, to $974.24.
Gov. Tom Wolf is the highest-paid executive branch employee to receive a raise, which brought his salary to about $213,000. Wolf has donated his salary to charity every year he’s been in office and will continue to do so, his administration told the AP.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s annual salary will increase to $179,000, while three statewide elected officials – Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Auditor General Tim DeFoor, and Treasurer Stacy Garrity – will now take home about $177,000 in annual salary.
Victor Skinner writes for The Center Square.
This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.