Statewide elected officials are getting big pay raises in the new state budget — boosts of anywhere from 39 to 60 percent.
And those increases were included at the very end of session, without public debate or input.
The new budget, HEA 1001, ties the pay for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor to what state Supreme Court justices earn, beginning in 2025.
For the governor, that means going from $133,683 a year to $198,513.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said she has a real problem with including the raises in the budget without it ever being discussed publicly.
“I’m not objecting to, really, what is being proposed," Crouch said. "It’s more the process.”
The lieutenant governor will see the largest salary increase, up to $174,692 from $108,819.
Both Crouch and Governor Eric Holcomb will leave their positions before the raises take effect.
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Senate Republicans pushed to include the raises in the budget. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said none of the statewide officials asked for it.
“They are woefully underpaid, as per a study that was done here but also if you compare them to other states," Bray said. "That was, frankly, a fairly easy decision to make.”
The current secretary of state, auditor and treasurer will see their salaries grow to above $100,000 a year for the first time.