AG Wasden faces possible pay cut

Chris Rizo Mar. 17, 2010, 2:52pm

Lawrence Wasden (R)

Dennis Lake (R)

BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline)-Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden could be in store for a pay cut to help the state make ends meet if he is reelected in November, and that is fair, said the House Republicans' point-man on the budget.

A proposal by legislative leaders would cut the pay of all the state's constitutional officers, including the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state controller, state treasurer and the superintendent of public instruction.

The plan by House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and Senate Pro Tempore Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, would cut constitutional officers' pay by 4 percent beginning next year.

House Revenue and Taxation Committee Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, said in light of the state's budget woes lawmakers have not taken a pay hike in some years.

Lake said the state's budget picture is grim. This year, the state is facing about 8 percent in overall budget reductions, after a substantial rainy-day fund help prevent most cuts this year and in 2009, he explained.

"It doesn't bother me that they are asking the constitutional officers to take a 4 percent cut, and I don't think they will mind taking one either," Lake told Legal Newsline.

The bill is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the House State Affairs Committee, led by Republican Thomas Loertscher of Iona.

This year, Wasden makes $103,984, the second highest of Idaho's statewide officeholders. If adopted, the bill would bring the attorney genera's pay down by more than $4,100 a year, to roughly $99,825.

The nation's top paid AG this year is Troy King of Alabama, at $163,744. The lowest paid is Dustin McDaniel of Arkansas, at $72,408.

Under Idaho law, state legislators may reset salaries every four years, before elections.

Under the pending draft legislation, the officials' pay would return to 2010 levels in 2012, and would set the attorney general's salary and the others' at a percentage of the governor's salary. This year, Gov. Butch Otter is paid $115,348.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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