The California Citizens Compensation Commission (CCCC) unanimously approved pay raises on June 8 for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state lawmakers.
The commission, which is appointed by the governor, voted 4-0 to approve a 4.2 percent raise for Newsom and state legislators, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Other state employees were already getting higher raises. The hikes for the lawmakers and the governor will take effect in December, according to CCCC Chairman Tom Dalzell.
“With every other state employee getting money, I don’t know what the rationale is for not giving them,” Dalzell told the LA Times. “By any measure, California is doing very well in terms of vaccination and infection containment. The economy is moving back.”
The Golden State’s lawmakers were already the highest paid in the nation prior to the raise. After the hike, state legislators will receive $119,700 per year. Newsom’s salary went up to $218,500.
In addition to 132 state legislatures, the latest pay raises also apply to the attorney general, lieutenant governor, treasurer, and members of the Board of Equalization.
State officials can voluntarily request a pay cut and several, including Newsom, had done so last year.
CCCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The commission was established by voters in 1990 to set salaries for the state’s elected officials. The commission’s rules were modified in 2009 to prohibit it from issuing pay raises during budget deficit years. The CCCC did not approve raises in 2020 when the state faced a deficit.
Amid a campaign to recall him from the governor’s seat, Newsom unleashed a torrent of new spending after the state’s budget was blessed with a $76 billion surplus and $27 billion in federal pandemic aid. He crisscrossed the state to promote the new programs, including $1,100 for millions of low and middle-income earners who struggled during lockdowns and $2.7 billion to pay for all of the state’s four-year-olds to go to kindergarten for free.
Newsom’s budget, released last month checked off a long wishlist of the progressive base, including $7.2 billion to pay off people’s outstanding rent and utility bills and $300 million to forgive traffic and other fines for lower-income residents. There also was $35 million to encourage local universal basic income programs and money to give Medicaid benefits to illegal aliens over the age of 60.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.