AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage moved one step closer to a long-sought victory Monday when a legislative committee overwhelmingly endorsed more than doubling the pay of the next governor from $70,000 a year to $150,000.

The State and Local Government Committee voted 11-1 in favor of increasing the salary, which is now the lowest of any state in the nation. The panel also approved amendments to the bill, offered by LePage, that would cap his retirement pay based on what he now makes.

The committee voted that if a governor left office after the age of 70 his retirement would be based on his current salary. For LePage, who will be 70 when he finishes his term, that means his retirement pay will be equal to three-eighths his current salary, or $26,500, as provided under current law.

The committee also amended another provision of the LePage bill that would have increased the daily meal and lodging reimbursements allowed for lawmakers from $70 a night to $125 a night. The current lodging expense is capped at $38 a night, but the bill approved by the committee would set the cap at $75, or $50 less a day than what LePage was proposing.

Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville, the Senate chairman of the committee, said that didn’t mean lawmakers would automatically get $75 a night for lodging expenses, but they could claim up to that amount if they were eligible for overnight lodging reimbursements.

Unlike many states, Maine pays its governor less than most of the governor’s senior staff, who are paid $100,000 or more annually. LePage has repeatedly asked lawmakers to boost the salary for his successor, asserting that the state can’t attract well-qualified candidates because of the low pay. He has frequently bemoaned his salary, saying at one point that the low pay made him feel like a priest or a nun.


The current salary for a Maine governor is about $17,000 above state’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, the Blaine House.

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.

The Legislature last increased the governor’s salary in 1987, but since 2011 LePage or Republican lawmakers have proposed salary increases for the next governor at least three times, including in 2016, 2017 and again this year.

The legislation to boost the governor’s pay, which will put Maine in the middle of the salary pack nationally, will now face additional votes before the full Legislature.


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