Bill to raise state officer salaries heads to summer study committee

By Andi TenBarge
TheStatehouseFile.com 

INDIANAPOLIS —A bill that would have raised the governor’s and other statewide office holders’ annual salary by nearly $30,000 by 2021 is on its way to a summer study committee.

Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, said he originally filed Senate Bill 60 without Gov. Eric Holcomb’s knowledge because it was not intended to “create a pay raise for him.”

Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, proposed an amendment that would move his bill to a summer study committee. Head said it would give more time for legislators to look at how pay raises for statewide positions would encourage people to run for office. Photo by Andi TenBarge, TheStatehouseFile.com

Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, proposed an amendment that would move his bill to a summer study committee. Head said it would give more time for legislators to look at how pay raises for statewide positions would encourage people to run for office. Photo by Andi TenBarge, TheStatehouseFile.com

“I purposely didn’t talk to the governor about it because I didn’t want people to think the governor was somehow behind this after getting elected,” Head said.

Senate Bill 60, if implemented, would have made the governor’s salary equal to the annual salary of a circuit court judge in Marion County starting in 2021. The bill would also make the salary of certain state-elected officials equal to 85 percent of the salary of a circuit court judge in Marion County starting in 2018. Right now, the governor earns $111,688 per year, according to fiscal documents attached to the bill.

The bill would also raise salaries for other statewide offices including the state auditor, secretary of state, attorney general and state treasurer.

“I talked to several people who said it was time to do this and it was a good idea,” Head said. “Others said it may be good, but the timing is bad giving the fact that the House is considering House Bill 1002, which would raise gas taxes to pay for roads.”

This comes after some newly-elected state officials discovered that the statewide position was paid less than what they made at the county level. Head cited the situation of Attorney General Curtis Hill, who said he made more money as a prosecuting attorney than he does now in a job that requires him to supervise significantly more people.

As a prosecuting attorney in Elkhart County, Hill made $141,311, and as attorney general, he makes $94,538.

“We need to have people who are not afraid to run,” Head said. “We need to recruit talented people and encourage them to run and not have a salary structure in place that discourages them.”

Andi TenBarge is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news site powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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