HARRISBURG — Apparently, it is better to be governor of Pennsylvania than any other state, if salary is any indication.
Two different surveys have found that the Pennsylvania governor's salary was the nation's highest in 2012, beating out states with higher populations and higher average incomes. It is even higher this year because of a 1995 state law that delivers annual pay raises tied to inflation for top executive branch officials, lawmakers and judges in Pennsylvania.
One survey was published by the Council of State Governments, based in Lexington, Ky. The Los Angeles Times reported that another survey was compiled for the California Citizens Compensation Commission ahead of its Thursday meeting to begin deciding whether to raise the pay of California state officials.
According to the surveys, the Pennsylvania governor's salary of $183,255 in 2012 bested that of other governors.
This year, the salary is set at $187,256, but a Corbett spokesman, Dan Egan, said Tuesday that the governor has declined three straight increases, making his real pay just under $175,000. At that level, he would be below salary levels for several governors, including those in New York and Illinois.
In a radio interview Tuesday, Corbett acknowledged that his salary was among the highest of governors, but he did not say whether he thought it was too high or should be lowered.
"We don't run for office for the pay at all, we run for the service to the people of our states," Corbett said during a regular appearance on the Dom Giordano Program on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. "Every state's different. There are other governors that get paid a little bit more, and there a lot of governors that get paid considerably less."
Regardless of whether Corbett accepts the full salary, it is subject to income taxes and counts toward his pension.
After he was elected governor in 2010, Corbett said the issue of automatic cost-of-living increases should be scrutinized, although he stopped short of advocating a repeal of the 1995 law. That law has also helped Pennsylvania's lawmakers become the nation's second-highest paid, behind only California's.