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Panel Kills Joel Anderson Bill to Cap State Employees’ Pay at $174,000

Only one Democrat sides with Republicans in favoring the limits on state worker salaries.

A Senate committee has killed state Sen. Joel Anderson’s bid to cap the annual salaries of state employees at $173,987—the pay for Gov. Jerry Brown.

The 7-6 vote in the Senate Government Organization Committee blocks further consideration this year of SB 1368 by Anderson, the Republican from Alpine whose 36th District includes La Mesa, Santee, Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Ramona and parts of southern Riverside County.

Only one Democrat—Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco—voted for the pay cap. All the Republicans on the committee backed it as well. Seven Democrats opposed the cap.

“The governor and his majority party are asking Californians to raise their own taxes, but that would be like throwing good money after bad because there’s currently no limit on lavish state salaries,” Anderson said in a statement. “Taxpayers, rank-and-file workers and students once again lose out to the fat cats at the top of the food chain.”

Yee added: “Senator Anderson is to be commended for authoring this legislation. The UC and CSU are starving our students while taking high salaries.”

And David Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said:  “At a time when 2 million private-sector employees are out of work and the state is facing at least a $9 billion budget deficit, the concept of shared sacrifice is an important one.

“It is hard to justify asking voters to increase their own taxes when 9,000 employees make more than the governor.”

Anderson’s SB 1368 would have limited the annual pay of any state officer or employee to no higher than that of the governor, which is currently set at $173,987.

In 2011, more than 9,000 state employees were earning more than the governor, above and beyond the national average for similar positions.

Anderson’s office listed these titles and pay comparisons:

  • Physician and Surgeon (Department of Corrections): $784,595 (over double the national average of $339,738)
  • Staff Psychiatrist (Department of Corrections): $566,029 (over triple the national average of $167,610)
  • University of California, President: $560,594
  • Dentist (Department of Corrections): $446,531 (over triple the national average of $142,870)
  • CSU San Diego, President: $400,000
  • Executive Director, CA High Speed Rail Authority: $359,502
  • Chief Executive Assignment, Caltrans: $287,883
  • Astronomer (UC Santa Cruz): $274,977 (almost triple the national average of $93,340)
  • Registered Nurse (Department of Corrections): $269,810 (over quadruple the national average of $62,450)
  • University Librarian (UCSF): $231,186 (over quadruple the national average of $55,180)

Besides Anderson and Yee, those voting in favor of the bill were Sens. Tom Berryhill (R-Stanislaus), Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Nigel) and Mark Wyland (R-Escondido).

Voting against the pay cap were Sens. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles), Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Ed Hernandez (D-Los Angeles), Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles).

A Patch poll on the subject found heavy support (79 percent) for the Anderson bill as of 3:40 p.m. April 24.

Batman April 25, 2012 at 02:06 PM
It's not just the salaries it's the outrageous pensions when they retire.
Selina Forte April 25, 2012 at 04:33 PM
When you have job, you should expect fair wages for the work you do. Somehow, the amount of money these people make seems grossly out of proportion. However, I don't think showing the national average of these jobs is a fair comparison. I would like to see how they compare to State averages of non government workers in similar positions.
Dennis Hull April 26, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I think its ti for a peoples "Proposition" on this matter. Those salaries are OBSCENE and I'm sure the pensions are too. I would certainly sign a Proposition ti limit that insanity!
Unavieja July 06, 2012 at 01:50 PM
As for pensions, I'd like to know how much is taken out of a yearly salary of, for example, the staff psychiatrist at corrections ($566,000), in order to pay for his retirement allowance. Usually it is a percentage of pay that has been figured by an actuary.
Jimmy Sanders July 06, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Probably no big deal Doug. It seems that both parties will allow or direct a member or two or three to vote with the opposition on sure issues just to show their party is not in lock step.

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