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Phil Matier: California’s Lawmakers Get A Pay Raise

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A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — California state lawmakers are receiving more in their pay checks, as a raise went into effect on Monday. The California Citizens Compensation Commission approved the increase of more than five percent back in June.

With lawmakers receiving about a 20 percent pay cut over the last few years amid state budget cuts, I don’t think this pay increase will get much of a backlash.

The typical legislator’s salary will be about $95,000 a year. That’s less than what county supervisors make in some parts of the state.

What you won’t hear too much about is the extra money lawmakers will get for their per diem income, which is what they get for actually coming to Sacramento. When you add in all the expenses, the amount can be about $30,000 of tax free money.

The back story here is that lawmakers were a little antsy about voting on their own raises, so the Citizens Compensation Commission was formed with a panel appointed by the governor.

Generally, the commission voted in the lawmakers’ favor and would approve the raises. That lasted until Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took office and that’s when the panel started cutting.

With this latest pay raise, so far there are about a dozen or so lawmakers who said they are not going to accept it. None of them were from the Bay Area, perhaps because the cost of living is so high here.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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