Skip to content

Beshear not alone with salary give-back

Beshear not alone with salary give-back

Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 10:56 pm
By: AP

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — With Kentucky’s budget teetering near a half-billion shortfall, Gov. Steve Beshear announced last week he and the lieutenant governor would return 10 percent of their salary to the state treasury. It was a symbolic gesture, Beshear said, aimed at showing Kentucky taxpayers they’re not alone in facing the deepening economic crisis. As Kentucky’s cash-strapped state government faces growing financial despair, the two leaders would share the pain, Beshear said. “We should not ask of others what we’re not willing to do ourselves,” Beshear said at a Capitol press conference called to highlight his decision. “We are in this together.” Kentucky, like other state governments across the country, is facing tough budgetary times — a $456.1 million shortfall in the current fiscal year that ends June 30. Beshear, likewise, is not alone among recent governors who have — or have at least publicly considered — returning some of their salaries. Across the country, governor’s pay scales range from a low of $70,000 per year in Maine to California’s salary of more than $212,000 — although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has waived his pay, according to the Lexington, Ky.-based Council of State Governments. Beshear’s salary, which is set by Kentucky law, would drop from $124,384 to $111,945, while Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s would also slide down 10 percent to $91,437, Beshear spokesman Jay Blanton said. Other top-ranking officials in Beshear’s administration also agreed to take 10-percent pay cuts for 2009, a move expected to save the state about $88,000. Beshear last week proposed offsetting Kentucky’s $456.1 million budget shortfall by cutting spending in most government agencies by 4 percent; boosting the state’s cigarette tax by 70 cents a pack and doubling the tax on other tobacco products. Beshear also called for a three-day unpaid furlough for all state employees, “I fully realize that this action will not substantially reduce our shortfall,” Beshear said. “Nevertheless, the lieutenant governor and I feel strongly, as the top two elected officials in this state, that we have an obligation to personally share in the sacrifices that will and must be made.” Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has decided to return 5 percent of his $175,000 yearly salary to the state, which is facing a two-year projected revenue loss of about $2.5 billion. The Democratic governor wanted to show taxpayers were not alone, Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey said. “People are hurting, that’s the reason we have a revenue shortfall,” Hickey said, noting that income and sales taxes are both down in Virginia. “He understands that, and that’s why he’s cutting his pay.” Iowa Gov. Chet Culver has also said he’d consider taking a pay cut during his state’s tough economic times. Published in The Messenger 12.15.08

Leave a Comment