LePage: Hike next governor’s salary, shrink Maine Legislature

Gov. Paul LePage. BDN file photo by Troy Bennett.

Gov. Paul LePage. BDN file photo by Troy Bennett.

Two bills unveiled by Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday would raise his successor’s salary and shrink the Maine Legislature by about a third in 2018.

The Republican governor’s bills were referenced to a legislative committee on Tuesday, but they may not go anywhere, if only because they were introduced in the waning days of the 2016 session. It’s scheduled to end on April 20 and committee work is already supposed to have ended.

But they’re also items that have gotten no legislative traction in recent years: A bill that would have raised the next governor’s salary failed in a committee last year and three bids to shrink the Legislature failed in 2013.

Maine’s governor only makes $70,000, which is the lowest in the nation. LePage’s bill would raise that to $150,000, which would put Maine in the top half of all states. The average is just under $135,000, according to The Council of State Governments.

Another bill would shrink the Maine House of Representatives to a maximum of 100 members from its current size of 151, whittling the 35-member Maine Senate to 25. If the Legislature agreed to that for 2018, they’d get a 25 percent pay increase as part of LePage’s bill addressing the governor’s salary.

Maine has the 11th-largest Legislature in the nation with 186 members, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It’s bigger than those in the three most populous states, California, Texas and Florida.

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Larry Dunphy, U-Embden, are set for a public hearing before the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.