While most state employees received a 4.6% pay cut as of July 1, most state Senate staffers have received pay increases over the last 12 months. Fewer Assembly staff members have also received merit pay raises during the same period, usually in the 3.6% to 5% range.
Shortly after the pay raises were made known, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced plans for a one-year pay freeze for the workers that would be in effect for the next year. Steinberg said that Senate staff salaries had been frozen from for four years before performance-based hikes were approved in 2011.
Around 58% of the Senate’s 964 staff members and an estimated 150 in the Assembly have received raises. Assembly staff salaries are posted online.
The aggregate amount of amount involved in the raises isn’t a lot, but the symbolic value was not lost on other public employees and taxpayer activists.
Lew Uhler, a former high-ranking state government official under Governor Ronald Reagan and now head of head of the California-based National Tax Limitation Committee, called the raises an “outrage.” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the pay raises would be a talking point in the November election and an anonymous union official told the Los Angeles Times, “It sends a bad message.”