The Idaho Senate Monday approved lowering the salaries for the governor and other statewide elected officials next year before raising their pay the following three years. The changes in pay for elected officials now heads to the governor for his consideration.
The changes to constitutional officers is one of the few pieces of legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs. “I’ve been through this situation two or three times before and it’s always a little bit of a controversy,” he said during debate. “This is public policy that I hope our citizens can understand and accept.”
The Legislature can set salaries before the election of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, state controller, and state treasurer. Under Geddes’ plan, all would receive a 4 percent pay cut next year, which would be restored in 2012. Their salaries would rise again in 2013 and 2014. Geddes called the increases modest.
Opposition to the plan came from Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise. “I just question the timing of this,” she said. She said she’d prefer that lawmakers set a steady salary for constitutional officers that would last for all four years of their term.
“It’s a really difficult time to explain to (people) that there’s an increase in salaries,” said Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.