The Independent Citizens Commission that sets elected state official pay endorsed 3 percent pay increases for all statewide elected officials.
Commission Chairman Chuck Banks said if judges and prosecutors got 3 percent raises (an earlier recommendation for this was ratified today) other constitutional officers should as well. There was some discussion about disparity between a couple of offices — secretary of state and lieutenant governor — and pay for those offices in some similar states. But, Banks noted, that lieutenant governor was sometimes viewed as a part-time job. Legislators are part-time jobs, too. None of the officials has asked for a raise, a commissioner noted.
The current pay of those officials recommended for a 3 percent raise (with the value of the raise in parenthesis):
Governor: $151,838 ($4,555)
Lt. Governor: $44,674 ($1,340)
Secretary of state: $96,913 ($2,907)
Attorney general: $139,992 ($4,200)
Treasurer: $91,534 ($2,746)
Auditor: $91,534 ($2,746)
Land commissioner: $91,534 ($2,746)
Legislators: $42,428 (they also draw per diem payments for attending meetings, which adds up to thousands for many members.) Pay raise worth $1,273.
House speaker $48,459 ($1,454)
Senate president: $48,459 ($1,454)
The raise will take effect, if ratified, after a 10-day public comment period. This same group got a 2.5 percent raise last year.
The Bureau of Legislative Research compiled this report on per diem and expense payments to legislators for the first six months of 2021.
Pay raises, generally reflective of state employee pay raises, have been the norm since the commission was established by constitutional amendment to take the hot potato of pay raises out of the hands of the legislature. It began work in 2015.
Median family income in Arkansas is about $47,000.
Before the Independent Commission took over in 2015, legislators were paid $15,869. They got a huge bump that year to $39,400. They’ll now move to $43,700, way more than double what they made in early 2015, but also 11 percent more than they made in 2016.