MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) — How about a $60,000 pay raise?
That’s what some elected officials in Mississippi could receive under a bill currently sitting on Governor Tate Reeves’ desk.
It would give elected officials across the state, including the governor, a hefty pay raise — courtesy of taxpayers.
Proponents say it’s about making the state more competitive.
Under House Bill 1426, the governor’s salary would increase from $122,000 to $160,000.
The Mississippi attorney general would see a similar increase.
Other statewide elected officials, such as the auditor and insurance commissioner, would receive an even larger $60,000 raise.
The Mississippi State Personnel Board (MSPB) recommended the salary increases that would not take effect until 2024, after the state’s next election.
Kelly Hardwick, executive director of the MSPB, said it would bring Mississippi closer to what other states pay their elected officials.
“The last pay increase was in 2003,” Hardwick said. “What you’re looking to do as a state government and as a taxpayer is you want the best and the brightest. And one of the ways to do that is to make sure your salaries are competitive.
Hardwick said employees who work for the governor, attorney general and other agencies will also receive a raise.
He says many of these employees are often approached by the private sector.
“Usually you would look for another job. But here, what we found was that there were a lot of unsolicited messages,” Hardwick said.
He says the pay raise will make the state more competitive in retaining its employees.
“What we’re looking to do is put ourselves in a situation where we get the best and the brightest public servants in the state and all the elected officials and we offer the employees who do a lot of work and the front of the scene. work is paid and remunerated in a way that is not only competitive, but consistent and fair,” Hardwick said.
The bill passed both houses of the legislature by wide margins.
State Representative Dana Criswell of DeSoto County was one of the lawmakers who voted against the bill.
“I don’t think we should ever raise politicians’ salaries,” Criswell said. “If a politician doesn’t like the salary, then he shouldn’t run for the job. So I would never vote or support a politician’s pay raise.
The governor has until next Monday to sign the bill or veto it.
If he does nothing, it will become law without his signature.
“The governor is reviewing the legislation and will make a decision before the deadline,” said Shelby Wilcher, Reeves’ press secretary.
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