A committee of Maine lawmakers on Thursday unanimously endorsed a bill to raise the governor’s lowest-in-the-nation salary from $70,000 to $125,000 – beginning with the next governor.

Members of the State and Local Government Committee voted 8-0 to send L.D. 165 to the full Legislature. Five members were absent and have two days to enter their votes. But the clear majority support, including members of both parties, means the salary increase may finally have a chance of passing after being rejected repeatedly in past years.

The bill would raise the governor’s salary for the first time in 36 years and also would increase the executive’s annual expense account from $30,000 to $40,000, effective January 2027.

Gov. Janet Mills, who is serving her second term, will not get a raise.

Maine’s salary for governor is the lowest of any state. Governors in 26 states make at least $150,000, topped by New York at $225,000.

Past Maine Legislatures have considered similar measures numerous times, but they have always fallen short. This time, the effort was led by Rep. Bill Bridgeo, D-Augusta, and Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford.

“We’re responsible for setting the salary for the governor’s office and we should take that seriously,” Bridgeo said in February. “We should want to encourage good folks to run for the job and not limit the pool artificially by a ridiculously low salary.”

A special state commission that studied compensation for the governor, lawmakers and judicial employees in 2019 said Maine’s governorship comes with more power than many other states because Maine lacks a lieutenant governor to share executive power and responsibilities. That commission called Maine’s $70,000 salary “embarrassingly low” and recommended nearly doubling it to $135,000.

The bill requires votes in the full House and Senate, and lawmakers will have to finalize a way to pay for the raises should they pass.

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