Governor's salary hike<BR>rejection is refreshing

Gov. Janet Napolitano has wisely demurred from accepting a recommendation from a state salary commission that her annual $95,000 salary increase by $65,000.

Her current salary ranks 35th among the other states and her office hasn't gotten a raise since 1999.

In rejecting the recommendation, the governor said that her pay is adequate and that she will not put in for a raise in her next budget proposal to the Legislature. She also said she wanted state workers to get a boost in pay before the governor does.

The same state commission also recommended salary increases for other of the state's high offices – the attorney general's to $135,000 from $90,000 and the secretary of state to $110,000 from $70,000. The package of recommendations from the commission, which would not go into effect until 2007, totals nearly $8 million in pay raises for Arizona's statewide elected officials, 90 legislators, court clerks and justices and judges. All require legislative approval, except for lawmakers' raises, which the voters will decide on Nov. 2. Lawmakers are in line for a $12,000 hike to $36,000.

In today's world, none of these salary recommendations are unreasonable.

What does seem illogical are Arizona's university coaches' salaries, which hover in the six-digit range, $600,000 plus, and the average teacher pay, which averages $39,995 – ranking Arizona 31st in the nation.

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