By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor
(The Center Square) – Indiana statewide elected officials will see their pay increase substantially in 2025.
In the budget passed by the state’s General Assembly last week, lawmakers included raises for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, treasurer and secretary of state.
The biennial spending plan calls for the governor to earn the same as a state Supreme Court justice. Currently, a member of the state’s top court earns $198,513. That will end up being a 48% raise.
According to data from The Council of State Governments, Holcomb’s pay in 2021 was 33rd among all governors. His $134,051 salary was nearly $15,000 less than the average for a top state executive.
The raises will take effect with the next term, which starts in January 2025. Holcomb is term-limited and cannot run for re-election next year when voters pick state officers.
However, at least one person who has announced her intent to run for governor criticized the move.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said she couldn’t support pay raises while “the far-left policies of Joe Biden are economically squeezing many Hoosier families,” and she added she made transparency paramount when she served as state auditor from 2014 to 2017.
“I was surprised and disappointed to see the salary language for elected state officials slipped into the budget,” Crouch said in a statement. “Putting language like this into the budget with no discussion is not how I do business.”
The next lieutenant governor will have their pay equal to 88% of a supreme court judge. In 2021, Crouch made $103,076. The attorney general will make 83% of a justice’s salary, while the auditor, treasurer and secretary of state will each get 66% of a justice’s pay.
The pay raise for the governor is set to take effect Jan. 13, 2025, while the others will see their raises start on Jan. 1, 2025.
Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana, told The Center Square the organization that seeks to hold government accountable was “disappointed” to see lawmakers add the pay raises late in the process and not allow for public feedback.
“Hoosiers deserve full transparency in the legislative process, and this session, we got a lot less than that,” Vaughn said. “It’s never easy for elected officials to raise their pay or the pay of their peers - it’s always going to be controversial. But seeking to avoid any blowback by this sneaky action is exactly the wrong way to do it.”