No raises for state officials for next two years

Gov. Chris Gregoire won’t be getting a pay hike.

Nor will 147 state legislators, nine statewide officeholders, nine state Supreme Court justices, and hundreds of appellate and lower court judges.

This week, the state Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials voted to freeze pay for all of them the next two years.

That’s exactly what most of those public officials wanted commissioners to do.

Gregoire sent a letter to the panel in January in which she told how she did not budget cost-of-living increases for state workers and teachers because of declining state revenues. In that environment, she hoped the commission would find it the wrong time to contemplate salary increases for elected officials.

At a public hearing in January, several elected officials said much the same thing and asked commissioners to not give them raises.

The decision means the governor will continue earning $166,891 a year for 2009 and 2010.

It freezes annual pay of legislators at $42,106, of minority leaders in the House and Senate at $46,106, and the House speaker and Senate majority leaders at $50,106.

Supreme court justices will continue to be paid $164,221, Court of Appeals judges $156,328, Superior Court judges $148,832 and District Court judges $141,710

Now in its 22nd year, the commission was created by a constitutional amendment as a means of taking the power of salary-setting away from the Legislature. It aims to keep salaries on par with what other states pay for similar work.

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