AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has again submitted a bill to boost the salary for Maine’s next governor, which at $70,000 a year is the lowest of all 50 states.

LePage’s proposal, announced Wednesday, would more than double that salary, boosting it to $150,000 a year.

“The Governor of the State of Maine is the Chief Executive of our state, and the compensation for the office should be competitive to attract the best talent,” LePage said in a prepared statement. “Maine deserves a governor with executive leadership experience who is in the prime of their career. Leaders who would make excellent governors have told me they won’t consider running because of the pay cut. Competitive compensation is good public policy.”

Previous efforts to boost the governor’s salary, which hasn’t changed in over 30 years, have failed. The most recent effort occurred in 2017, with a bill offered by Rep. Brad Farrin, R-Norridgewock.

LePage has also previously complained to talk show radio hosts that his salary is so low he feels like a “priest or a nun.” In 2016 LePage proposed increasing the governor’s salary to $150,000 and, in a separate bill, proposed increasing the pay for state lawmakers by 25 percent while also cutting the number of seats in the Legislature.

LePage proposed 100 or fewer seats in the House and 25 or fewer in the Senate, a move that would have required a change to the state’s constitution. The House now has 151 members, while the Senate has 35. Legislators serve two-year terms and receive stipends of $14,074 a year for the first session and $9,982 a year for the shorter, second session.

Most of LePage’s senior staff members make far more than their boss, although the governor is afforded living expenses and a home next to the State House.

The governor’s current salary is about $17,000 above Maine’s median household income of $53,079. Under state law, governors also are allotted a $35,000 annual personal expense account that is not subject to audit by the Legislature, bringing the governor’s total compensation package to over $100,000 a year. Governors also live without rent, utility or food expenses while at the official residence.

Beyond the expense account, governors are also afforded sizable benefit packages. In 2016, LePage’s annual compensation package included a $15,809 health insurance plan, $3,717 toward his retirement, $814 for life insurance and a $315 dental insurance policy.

LePage appears to be sweetening the deal for lawmakers, who would have to vote on a pay increase for the next governor, by increasing their meal and lodging allowances. His bill would raise the meal and lodging allowances from $70 a night to $125 a night. The current lodging expense is capped at just $38 a night, which LePage called “outdated.”

“While serving as an elected official is meant to be an act of public service, we should not expect legislators who travel great distances to Augusta to represent their communities to have to dig into their own pockets to cover the costs of staying overnight rather than drive several hours back home each day,” LePage said.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

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