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House bill would raise Iowa elected officials' pay by $10,000

Top of Iowa Capitol building
Madeleine Charis King
Iowa lawmakers are considering raising their salaries for the first time since 2007.

Members of the Iowa House of Representatives advanced a bill Tuesday to raise their own pay and that of statewide elected officials like the governor by $10,000.

It would set most state lawmakers’ salaries in the House and Senate at $35,000 per year, plus existing per-diem payments for expenses related to the legislative session.

Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, said no one in politics wants to vote to give themselves a pay raise. But he said lawmakers haven’t gotten a raise since 2007, and some legislators are leaving because they can’t afford to stay.

“The unfortunate reality we face is, do we want our legislature made up of a bunch of rich folks and retired folks? Because that’ll be the only ones that can afford to serve up here,” he said. “Or do we want the representation of the legislature to be based upon the people of Iowa?”

Rep. Adam Zabner, D-Iowa City, agreed.

“I think that we want a representative government,” he said. “There are plenty of talented people around the state, and my hope is this legislation will help them serve their communities.”

Leaders in the House and Senate would make $47,500 per year. The new lawmaker salaries would take effect in 2025, after this year’s elections.

Statewide elected officials would also get a $10,000 raise.

Under the bill, the governor would make $140,000 dollars per year, and the lieutenant governor would make $113,212.

The secretary of state, state auditor, treasurer and agriculture secretary would also get $113,212.

The attorney general would be paid $133,669. All elected official salaries would also have a cost-of-living adjustment going forward.

Holt and Zabner voted to advance the bill to the House Appropriations Committee along with Rep. Joel Fry, R-Osceola.

They also advanced a bill that would direct the legislative council to meet before the end of the legislative session to change salaries for legislative staff.

“I do know that we’re struggling to hire and retain staff in these positions,” Fry said. “And in order to be competitive with other salaries in other parts of government, I believe we must look at this and move this bill forward as well.”

Fry said House members still need to discuss these proposals with the Senate and governor as the Legislature seeks to wrap up the session.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter