Gavin Lesnick, on-line reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, reports that the independent citizens commission that sets legislative, judicial and statewide office pay under the new Amendment 94 had decided this morning to stick with pay recommendations it reached Friday.
It will have a public hearing on the recommendations March 2 and then finalize pay levels on March 13. It also makes recommendations on expenses, but — unlike pay — the recommendations are not binding. The legislature may depart from them.
Legislative pay would rise from $15,869 to $39,000 and to $45,000 for House speaker and Senate president. The 145 percent increase is supposed to be accompanied, legislative leaders have promised, by an end to a $14,400 expense account that has been used by some as a pay supplement paid in the form of flat monthly payments to spouses’ LLCs. Some have taken care to fully document expenses. Legislators will continue to receive per diem — a tax-free payment intended to reimburse the expense of going to work — and also a mileage reimbursement higher than that paid state employees.
* GOVERNOR: Would go from $79,132 to $130,000, an increase of 64 percent.
* LT. GOVERNOR: Would stay at $42,315.
* ATTORNEY GENERAL: Would go from $73,132 to $130,000, an increase of 77 percent
* SECRETARY OF STATE: Would go from $54,848 to $90,000, an increase of 64 percent
* AUDITOR, TREASURER AND LAND COMMISSIONER: All make $54,848, they’d all be moved to $85,000, an increase of 55 percent.
* DISTRICT JUDGES: From $125,950 to $140,000, up 11 percent
* CIRCUIT JUDGES: From $140,372. to $160,000, up 14 percent.
* COURT OF APPEALS: From $144,982 to $161,500, up 11 percent. The chief judge, $147,286. to $164,000, also up 11 percent.
* SUPREME COURT: From $149,589 to $166,500, up 11 percent. The chief justice,from $161,601 to $180,000, up 11 percent