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Lawmakers give preliminary nod to proposal to increase Maine governors' salary

Carter F. McCall
BDN file
The Blaine House in Augusta.

The salary of Maine's next governor will be nearly double that of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills under a bill that received support from the legislature's budget committee on Wednesday. A separate bill increasing pay for the next legislature was also approved.

At a yearly salary of $70,000, Maine governors are the lowest paid in the country.

A proposal that has received legislative backing would increase their compensation to $125,000 after Mills leaves office in 2028. It aligns more closely with the salaries of the governor's cabinet members and staff.

The legislature's budget committee voted to fund the proposal Wednesday night and it now requires a final vote by the Senate.

Republican state Rep. Sawin Millett, of Waterford, who has served as a cabinet member under former Gov. Paul LePage, said the governor's salary hasn't been increased in 36 years.

"It will not affect the current administration and the chief executive (governor) and it would take effect only after the enactment of a succeeding governor," he said. "And I think the action is overdue and I think justified."

Currently the governor also receives a $30,000 unaudited expense account. Under the bill, that would also increase to $40,000.

The budget panel also voted to increase the pay for future legislators from $25,000 for their two-year terms to $45,000. The increase will cost $1.6 million, but supporters argued that it will help with candidate recruitment.

The legislative pay increase will also need final approval by the Senate, which could occur sometime next week.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.