AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Should Maine’s next Governor get a pay raise? That’s one more question Maine Legislators will have to answer during the final few weeks of the current session.
Governor LePage submitted a bill to raise the pay from the current $70,000 a year to $150,000. The last time the Governor’s pay increased was in 1987. As a result, Maine’s pay level is the lowest in the country. The New England average is $155,000.
The increase wouldn’t affect LePage's pay because the raise wouldn’t start until the next Governor takes office in January. The Legislature has rejected similar proposals before, but bill sponsor, Rep. John Martin (D-Eagle Lake) said he thought there would be support in and outside the Legislature.
"I think some people will always oppose a raise," Martin said, "but then when they find out what the salary is they say why would anyone run for that?"
Republicans Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough), who often opposes new spending, told NEWS CENTER Maine she believes it is time to give a raise to the Chief Executive.
"The job is 24/7. They are on call all the time and I think its embarrassing there are certain other professionals paid far more than our governor."
That proposal also includes an increase in the daily meal and hotel allowance for legislators...from the current $70 a per day to $125.
Several lawmakers said costs for hotels have risen so the per diem allowance no longer covers the expenses for legislators who need to stay the night in Augusta. Sirocki said she believes some level of increase is needed, though possibly less than has been proposed.
The full Legislature will need to vote on both proposals.