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Utah Legislature: Bill to cut governor's pay called DOA

SALT LAKE CITY — A Democratic House member thinks GOP Gov. Gary Herbert and four other elected state executives, also all Republicans, should get a 10 percent pay cut.

Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, has introduced a bill that would cut Herbert's annual salary from $109,900 to $98,910.

"It's only fair," Hansen said, "that we look everywhere for money, not just cut programs for people" in balancing the state budget.

Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Treasurer Richard Ellis and Auditor Auston Johnson all make 95 percent of the governor's pay, so their salaries would be reduced accordingly. By law the Legislature sets those salaries.

Hansen's bill "has zero chance of passing," said House Majority Leader Kevin Garn, R-Layton. "We aren't going to go there" in cutting the pay of Herbert and other state leaders. "Maybe they can work 10 percent harder," he said smiling.

State employees have not had a pay raise in two years. Legislators cut their own salary by 10 percent a year ago, voting this session to keep their $117-a-day pay for at least through the 2011 Legislature. Hansen was one of two House members who voted against that measure.

Legislators are struggling with closing a $700 million budget gap for next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Hansen's bill would save the state a little more than $50,000 next year.

Hansen says while that may not be much overall, it's important that all state workers, especially leaders, take their share of the cuts.

— Bob Bernick Jr.