Legislator Pushes for Raises for Elected Statewide Officials

Jan 11, 2012

A retiring legislator wants to give raises to elected statewide officials. But Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports he may have a specific reason for that.

The normal procedure for adjusting salaries requires a five-member commission to review the wages and make recommendations. Those take effect automatically unless lawmakers specifically reject or alter them. Only thing is, the commission cannot meet because Gov. Jan Brewer has refused to appoint her two members, a move she made two years ago to specifically preclude salary hikes while the state was in economic trouble. And so far the governor has not changed her mind. So Harper has proposed legislation providing for pay increases, regardless of failure to follow procedures. One of those would boost the pay of secretary of state by $25,000, to $95,000 a year. And that could affect Harper.

"Well, um, it's, ah, it's an unfulfilled goal to be secretary of state someday or run for secretary of state," Harper said. "So I might consider that down the road."

But Harper said he already has made some moves in that direction, including forming an exploratory committee for the 2014 race. The big gainer under Harper's plan would be the governor who would get a $65,000 raise, to $160,000. Harper said that is justified because it's equal to what is now paid to the chief justice of the state Supreme Court. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.