HARRISBURG, Pa. – Inflation is giving away another big pay rise for hundreds of Pennsylvania state legislators, judges and senior officials in 2023, including boosting ordinary legislators and district judges into six figures.
For many of those positions, it’s the biggest increase since the 1990s, when lawmakers passed legislation to grant themselves annual pay rises by linking them to inflation rates.
Salaries across the board are set to rise 7.8%, a number tied by law to the annual change in the consumer price index released this month by the US Department of Labor for mid-Atlantic urban areas.
That pay rise is significantly higher — about 50% higher — than federal data shows for average private-sector wages in Pennsylvania over the same period.
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Ordinary legislators will make nearly $103,000 or another $7,400. The highest-paid officials in the Legislature, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate pro tempore, will earn more than $160,000, up $11,600.
Newly elected governor Josh Shapiro will make nearly $230,000, $16,600 more than this year’s salary for the governor, and state chief justice Debra Todd will make about $252,000, about $18,000 more for the position.
According to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the largest annual rise in inflation for mid-Atlantic urban areas in October since 1981, when the United States turned to tight fiscal policies to control “the great inflation.”
The increase applies to more than 1,300 positions, including the governor, cabinet members, three state elected officers, all 253 lawmakers, and state and district judges. It goes into effect December 1 for lawmakers and January 1 for judiciary and law enforcement officials.
They are already enjoying a sizeable wage increase of 5.6% this year, also fueled by inflation.
The highest-paid position is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The salaries of the court’s other six judges will rise to nearly $245,000.
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The highest-paid executive branch official affected by the increase is the governor, although Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said he has donated salary to charity every year he has been in office since 2015. Shapiro will be inaugurated on January 17 to replace the temporary Wolf.
The salary of Lt. gov. elect Austin Davis will rise to nearly $193,000, while whoever replaces Shapiro as attorney general will earn $191,000. Comptroller Tim DeFoor and Treasurer Stacy Garrity will also receive $191,000.
The state’s more than 300 district judges will see their salaries rise above $200,000 to about $212,500, while hundreds more district judges will see their salaries reach six figures for the first time, rising to more than $106,000.
The pay rises come at a time when wages for private sector workers are rising steadily — though not nearly as fast.
Federal data for October showed average weekly earnings for all private sector workers in Pennsylvania increased 5.1% year over year to $1,042, or about $53.50 to about $54,200 over a full year.
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