The next Calif. AG to earn less than Brown

By Chris Rizo | May 22, 2009

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Amid a staggering budget shortfall, the person who is elected California attorney general in 2010 will be paid 18 percent less than Jerry Brown is paid this year.

The state panel that sets salaries for the state's lawmakers and constitutional officers made the cut Wednesday, the day after voters rejected a bevy of tax increases to help the state make ends meet.

The Golden State faces a budget gap estimated at $21 billion.

The salary cut approved 5-1 Wednesday by the California Citizens Compensation Commission also applies to the state superintendent of public instruction, controller, insurance commissioner, treasurer, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and members of the Board of Equalization.

Brown is paid $184,301 annually. He is widely expected to seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010.

Board members had sought to cut current officeholders' pay, but the seven-member panel's legal counsel said state law bars such changes.

Critics said that the cut in pay could discourage some potential candidates from running for state office. The cut will take the salary of rank-and-file lawmakers from $116,028 to $95,143. Their $173 per diem payments are not affected by the cuts.

For his part, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who does not accept his $212,179 annual salary, has said he supports the board's decision, as did the leader of the state Senate.

"We of course will respect and abide by the decision of the California Citizens Compensation Commission," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said in a statement. "At the same time, I will always stand by the hard work and sacrifice of my legislative colleagues."

Last year, the California Citizens Compensation Commission approved a 5 percent raise for the attorney general and state superintendent of schools and a 2.75 percent raise for state legislators and other state elected officials.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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