Cumberland Times-News

December 22, 2013

Good pay

Maryland’s governor, lawmakers don’t need raise

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Count us among those who think the $150,000 and plentiful perks associated with the job is pretty good pay for being the governor of Maryland.

If the Governor Salary Commission recommendation is accepted by the General Assembly, the gubernatorial salary will go from $150,000 to $180,000 — a 20 percent increase. Five other statewide officials — the lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, state treasurer and secretary of state — would also get a 20 percent pay hike over the four years of their terms from 2015 to 2018.

As for senators and delegates, the General Assembly Compensation Commission suggests a 16 percent pay raise to $50,31 per year for legislators who are elected to office next year.

According to the Sunshine Review, a nonprofit government transparency group, Maryland’s salary for governor is above average when it comes to gubernatorial pay across the U.S. The average salary of U.S. governors is $128,735, with the highest being California’s pay level of $212,179.

As for the office of Maryland governor, the perks include a free residence, Government House, the governor’s mansion across the street from the State House. The private quarters are on the top two floors of the four-story building.

The mansion has a budget for food and entertainment, and has a staff of chefs and other personnel. The governor and family also are provided with state-owned cars and SUVs driven by state troopers who are part of the Executive Protection Detail, which is headquartered in part of the mansion.

Clearly, the governor is not spending a lot of his $150,000 annual salary for everyday expenses faced by other Marylanders.

As for the senators and delegates, they already receive $43,500 annually for being part-time legislators. They, too, receive a number of benefits, including health and life insurance benefits, per diem travel and meal expenses while in session, and access to a voluntary pension plan.

Four years ago when salary increases were recommended for the governor and legislators, the General Assembly turned down the proposal. Hiking salaries will leave a bad taste for many Marylanders at a time when the state continues to struggle to regain its economic footing.