Maura Healey, Other Constitutional Officers in Line for 20 Percent Raises

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By Colin A. Young and Sam Drysdale
State House News Service

The state’s top officials are in line for substantial pay raises in the new year, with constitutional officers likely taking in 20 percent more than in 2022.

State lawmakers are also set to receive their fourth pay raise since 2017, this one worth more than 4 percent.

In a letter sent Thursday, December 29 to Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Governor Charlie Baker said that median household income in Massachusetts has risen by 4.42 percent over the two years since the last adjustment to lawmaker pay. Adjustments to legislative base pay are required biennially under the state Constitution, based on changes in the median household income statewide.

A 4.42 percent increase for the 2023-2024 legislative session would bump the base pay for elected lawmakers from $70,536 to about $73,654, a raise of $3,118 a year. Any lawmaker can choose to turn down the increase in base pay if the lawmaker so chooses. For many lawmakers, the base pay is supplemented by substantial stipends tied to committee and leadership posts.

In past years, especially during recent recessions, some legislators have rejected the pay increases, and others have accepted the money but pledged to donate it to charity. Most have accepted the raises.

Lawmakers got a 4.2 percent raise at the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session, a raise of 5.93 percent at the start of the 2019-2020 session, and a 6.46 percent increase when the 2021-2022 session began. If median household income were to go down, legislative pay would also be slated to be cut.

The process of calculating the 4 percent bump in base pay for lawmakers is set in the state Constitution, but the origins of the 20 percent increase that statewide officers — governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, and secretary of state — will see in their paychecks comes from a controversial law passed in 2017 that ties officials’ salaries to changes in state wages over the past eight quarters rather than to median household income.

Though the state treasury does not make official determinations regarding other constitutional officers’ payrolls, the treasurer’s office did the math as specified in the law to calculate that the statute entitles constitutional officers to a 20.1 percent increase in 2023.

The required salary increases “reflect the aggregate quarterly change in salaries and wages in the commonwealth for the most recent eight quarters as determined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the United States Department of Commerce,” according to the law.

For incoming Governor-elect Maura Healey, the raise means she will make $37,185 above Baker’s current $185,000 salary. In addition to the new $222,185 salary, Healey is set to receive the governor’s standard $65,000 housing allowance, for a total compensation of $287,185 in 2023.

The lieutenant governor’s pay will increase from $165,000 to $198,165 under the 2017 law.

Healey spokesman Karissa Hand said Healey and Lieutenant Governor-elect Driscoll will both “accept the salary that has been established by statute.”

State Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell and Auditor-elect Diana DiZoglio will also accept the increased salaries, press representatives said.

In response to an inquiry whether Secretary of State William Galvin would accept the raise — up from the $179,367 he made this year — Galvin spokesman Deb O’Malley said, “The Secretary will be reviewing the numbers before making a determination. With preparations for his roles in the swearing-in and inauguration ceremonies next week, he does not expect to have a chance to do that until after next Thursday.”

Lizandra Gomes, chief of staff for Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, said Goldberg “will need to review” the available raise. Goldberg brought home $189,560 in 2022.

“As you probably recall, [the] Treasurer did not take any pay increase during the COVID 19 pandemic,” Gomes added.

The 2017 law also affects stipends that lawmakers receive for being in leadership positions or being chosen to chair a committee, separate from the changes in compensation that the governor is required to make every two years. The Senate president and speaker of the House each receive $35,000 in additional compensation for each two-year session.

House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka each made $178,473 this year in total compensation including stipends. The pay bump would bring their packages to more than $214,000 in the new year if they are re-elected to lead their chambers, as expected.

A representative for the speaker said Mariano “plans to accept the salary that the Treasurer deems correct.” Spilka’s team did not respond to a request for comment.

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, criticized the optics of state officials accepting the pay raises to start on the same day a new voter-approved surtax goes into effect for the state’s wealthiest residents.

“In response to the narrow passage of Question 1 which will take more money from taxpayers and dump it into the legislatively doled out general fund, State House politicians feel they can afford the largest pay raise since 2017,” said MassFiscal spokesman Paul Craney. “If that is the case, then taxpayers should be afforded broad tax cuts and tax eliminations to help keep Massachusetts economically competitive in response to the economic harm associated with Question 1.”


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