State weighs 3% pay bump for top elected officials, none for lawmakers

LITTLE ROCK -- Top elected officials in Arkansas could see a 3% salary increase but legislators' pay would stay flat under a proposal from a state panel.

The Arkansas Independent Citizens Commission proposed the pay increases on Friday and will consider giving them final approval June 16 after receiving public comments, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The panel sets salaries for state elected officials and was created by a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2014. Before then, salaries were set by the state Legislature.

The proposal would increase the governor's annual salary to $163,501 from $158,739 ; the attorney general's to $150,745 from $146,355; and the secretary of state to $104,362 from $101,322.

Salaries for the treasurer, auditor and land commissioner would each increase to $98,564 from $95,693, while the lieutenant governor's pay would increase to $48,105 from $46,704.

Under the proposal, state House and Senate members' pay would remain at $44,357. The House speaker and Senate president pro tempore would still get $50,661.

The commission in January initially proposed 6% raises for both officials and lawmakers, but has delayed considering that plan. The commission received letters from 49 lawmakers who said the legislative raise was not justified.

Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said after the January proposal that she would donate any pay raise she received to charity, and GOP Attorney General Tim Griffin said he regularly donates "in excess of my pay raise" to his church and charities, the newspaper reported.

The panel in November approved a 2% cost-of-living adjustment and a 5% pay increase for state judges, including members of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Appeals Court, as well as prosecuting attorneys.

If the panel gives final approval to the raises next month, they will take effect 10 days after the proposal is filed with the state auditor's office.