Palin won't accept raise

20 PERCENT: Spokesman says governor feels increase in middle of her term isn't appropriate.

December 17, 2008 

Gov. Sarah Palin didn't ask for a pay raise and won't accept one during her current term, a spokesman said Wednesday.

A new state commission appointed by Palin recommends boosting the governor's pay from $125,000 to $150,000. The State Officers Compensation Commission says the lieutenant governor, department heads and legislators need more money too.

But if the commission pushes ahead with a pay raise, Palin won't accept the money, said spokesman Bill McAllister.

"Her view is, it's just not appropriate to accept a pay raise in the middle of the term."

Palin's term ends in 2010.

The Legislature created the five-member commission this year to decide how much top state officials should be paid. Two members are recommended by legislative leaders.

The group announced its early suggestions this week and plans to hear from the public at 9 a.m. today at Legislative Information Offices around the state.

Palin makes 46 percent more than her predecessor, Frank Murkowski.

She's also the 24th-lowest paid governor, according to the commission's numbers.

"We were all a little surprised by the preliminary recommendations," McAllister said of the suggested 20 percent raise for the governor. "We didn't know that was coming."

It's unclear if Palin would give the money to charity -- as commission chairman Rick Halford predicted Tuesday -- or simply not receive the extra pay.

Also Wednesday, Palin's team had been expected to unveil an energy plan that would tally energy costs and the cost of potential energy projects in towns and villages across the state.

Instead, the plan has been delayed until next month.

"It's a huge, huge body of information that is simply being put into final form," said Karsten Rodvik, spokesman for the Alaska Energy Authority. "And it takes some time and some level of communication and work between our office, and the governor's office to pull it all together and pick a date and make it happen."

Find Kyle Hopkins online at adn.com/contact/khopkins or call him at 257-4334.

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