CHEYENNE – Despite objections from Gov. Mark Gordon, lawmakers on the Joint Appropriations Committee approved a bill Thursday that would raise the salaries of the governor and the other four elected state officials beginning after the 2022 general election.
The bill would raise the governor’s salary from $105,000 to $150,000, while the other four officials – secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction – would see their salaries jump from $92,000 to $120,000.
The bill’s approval, which marks the first raise for the five officials in nearly 20 years, comes a few days after Gordon issued a statement regarding the proposal, clarifying he didn’t suggest any sort of salary increase in his budget or anywhere else.
“On the contrary, I remain focused on providing appropriate compensation for state employees and ensuring our wages throughout state government are competitive,” Gordon said in the statement.
“We are early in the budget discussions, and this proposal would have to work its way through the legislature. I ran for governor to serve the people of Wyoming, not for the pay.”
Gordon’s current pay falls in the bottom ten salaries for governors, according to USA Today rankings from this year.
The original bill was for a slightly higher increase – to $175,000 for the governor and $150,000 for the rest – but during the meeting, it never received a vote.
When the bill was introduced, Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, amended it to a slightly lower level – for $120,000 for the governor and $105,000 for the rest – but that version was narrowly rejected.
Committee co-chair Bob Nicholas, R-Cheyenne, then moved to reconsider the bill and amended it to the level that gained final approval. Without much discussion, committee members then advanced the bill by an 8-to-4 vote.
When asked whether to start the bill in the House or the Senate, the answer was easy, especially considering the other committee co-chair, Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, voted against the proposal.
“I guess that’s a House bill,” Nicholas said to laughs from the committee.
The bill will be considered during the Legislature’s upcoming budget session, which begins Feb. 10.