General Assembly curbs raises

Cabinet, judiciary salaries to remain the same
January 25, 2013

Lawmakers have unanimously blocked salary increases for judges and cabinet secretaries. Bipartisan leaders in the Delaware General Assembly crafted a resolution to reject salary increases recommended by the Delaware Compensation Commission.

The commission called for salary increases of 6 percent or more over the next three years for judges and some cabinet secretaries. No adjustments to the base salary, expense allowance or pension benefits were recommended for elected officials.

It was the second time a report has been rejected since the commission was created in 1984. House Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by more than 58 of the 62 legislators in the House and Senate, rejected the entire report.

The House passed the legislation unanimously Jan. 17, the same day it was introduced.  The Senate approved the resolution unanimously, Jan. 23.

The compensation commission meets every four years to review salaries for judges, cabinet members and elected officials.  The 2013 report was issued Jan. 8 and would have been automatically adopted in July if the General Assembly had not moved to stop it.

House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, cited economic uncertainty as a reason to refuse the recommendation.  He also said it would be difficult to ask his caucus to support extending taxes if the state approves raises for the judiciary and cabinet secretaries.

Gov. Jack Markell introduced his fiscal year 2014 proposed budget on Jan. 24.  Markell’s proposal includes lifting the sunset on certain taxes that were scheduled to expire this year.

Legislators would have to vote to keep the state’s personal income tax, gross receipts tax, estate tax and corporate franchise tax in place.