AP NEWS

Pennsylvania lawmakers, judges pulling down raises in 2020

November 25, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges and top executive branch officials will collect another annual salary increase in 2020, with the governor’s salary passing $200,000 and rank-and-file lawmakers’ base salaries passing $90,000.

The salary increases come as lawmakers consider increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage for the first time since 2009 and a citizen activist presses Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers to increase Pennsylvania’s tax forgiveness threshold for adults for the first time in two decades.

Their salary increase for the year ahead will be 1.9%, a figure tied by state law to the year-over-year change in the consumer price index published by the U.S. Department of Labor for urban consumers in the mid-Atlantic region.

The boost takes effect Dec. 1 for lawmakers and Jan. 1 for judicial and executive branch officials.

The increase is about one-third larger than last year’s increase comes at a time of steady growth in wages for private sector workers.

Federal data from the three-month period ending in June showed average weekly wages for private-sector workers in Pennsylvania increased 3.8% year-over-year, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. However, hourly wage data shows that wages have grown more slowly for workers at the bottom of the income ladder.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Saylor is highest-paid, pulling down a $4,000 raise to just above $221,000. The rest of the Supreme Court’s seven members will be paid $215,000. Wolf’s salary will rise about $3,800 to almost $201,700, although he donates it to charity. Both are among the nation’s highest.

Most lawmakers, the nation’s third-highest paid, will see increases of $1,725 to about $90,300 in base pay. They also receive per diems, pensions and health benefits.

Lawmakers in leadership posts will top out at $141,000 for House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson. The four caucus floor leaders in the House and Senate will each make almost 130,900 while the four caucus whips and the four Appropriations Committee chairs will receive $121,100.

County court judges will see increases to about $186,700, while judges in larger districts, such as Philadelphia and Allegheny County, will get slightly more.

The salary for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will surpass $169,400, while the three statewide elected row officers — Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Treasurer Joe Torsella and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale — each will make a little more than $167,800.

The salaries for the heads of Wolf’s 18 cabinet agencies will rise by law, topping out at almost $161,400 for leaders of the largest departments.

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This story has been corrected to show the time period for the wage data is from a three-month period, not a 12-month period.