Pay raises recommended for Missouri officials -

Pay raises recommended for Missouri officials

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By Stephanie Baumer By Stephanie Baumer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri panel on Tuesday recommended raises for statewide officials and lawmakers, including what could mean about $22,000 more for the governor over the next few years.

The Citizens' Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials suggested an 8 percent raise for most statewide elected officials — including the governor, attorney general, treasurer, auditor and secretary of state — in fiscal year 2016 and again in 2017.

Some of those eligible for raises will only get part of the benefits before their terms end in January 2017.

The state constitution requires the commission meet every two years to evaluate whether to increase officials' pay.

Members will write the official report on their suggestions next week. They can use the report to convince the public and General Assembly members that the pay increases are justified. Some members have already voiced concerns that their recommendations won't be implemented.

The panel's suggestions take effect automatically unless two-thirds of the Missouri Legislature votes against them.

Former state Sen. Dan Clemens, a Marshfield Republican, said the GOP-controlled state House and Senate likely will take issue with the governor's raise. Nixon, who currently is paid $133,821 a year, would make about $156,088 a year if the changes are approved.

"Maybe some other amounts may have appeased some of the legislators," said former state Rep. Charles Schlottach, a Republican from Owensville. But panel members "were intent on making a statement that the Legislature, as well as the governor, was worth more than (they were) getting."

The panel also approved a $4,000 raise over two years for state lawmakers and about $9,500 more for the lieutenant governor.

All of those positions, as well as Missouri judges, would get more money for daily expense compensation and mileage reimbursement to match federal rates.

Money for mileage would go up to 56 cents per mile from 37 cents. The per diem allotted for hotels and meals would increase from about $103 a day to about $129 a day, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

Panel members brainstormed ways to convince lawmakers to accept their suggested 11 percent raises, which would bump up their pay from $35,915 to almost $40,000. The Legislature only meets part of the year.

Commission members said the raises make up for years of stagnant salaries. The last time statewide officials and state lawmakers received a raise was in 2009.

Salaries for judges will remain the same. A former commission approved pay raises for judges that took effect in 2013 and tied their salaries to whatever raises their federal counterparts receive.

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