House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said he doesn’t think there will be an effort to move legislation raising the pay of top state officials including the governor, House speaker, and Senate president before new legislators are sworn in on Wednesday.
A state panel recommended last month that the Legislature, among other shifts in compensation, increase the governor’s salary from $151,800 to $185,000; the House speaker’s and Senate president’s from $102,279 to $175,000; and the attorney general’s from $130,582 to $175,000.
Asked Sunday night at a State House event if he would push for pay raises in the final two days of the current legislative session, DeLeo indicated he was focused instead on connecting with new leaders on Beacon Hill. He said he was thinking about Wednesday, when the new class of state representatives and senators is sworn in, and Thursday, when Governor-elect Charlie Baker takes the oath of office.
“Getting to know my new partners a little bit better and then working on thoughts in terms of agenda items for the next year,” he said.
Asked whether people could expect a push on pay raises right now, he said no.
“Not this session, no,” the speaker said at the unveiling of Governor Deval Patrick’s official portrait.
There is some discomfort among legislators at the prospect of increasing top officials’ pay at a time when the state faces a budget gap that could lead to significant cuts in services.
In December, Patrick said he supported the recommendations of the panel but would not approve salary-boosting legislation until the gap was bridged.
Baker said last month that the time was not right to be considering pay increases.
The commission that made the pay recommendations argued that raises were warranted because of officials’ level of responsibilities, other states’ levels of compensation, Massachusetts’ high cost of living, and a desire to attract talented people, regardless of means, to elected office.
The chairman of the commission, Ira A. Jackson, said the proposed pay raises would require approval in the current legislative session to be in effect when the new crop of Beacon Hill officials take office Wednesday.