Democrat thanks GOP governor for seeking pay hike party leader attacked

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman says Branstad 'out of touch'

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DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad told fellow Iowa Executive Council members Monday he is still pushing to get the yearly salaries increased for their positions in 2014, but he’s not optimistic given the legislative reception the proposal received last week.

Meanwhile, State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat, said he was disappointed the proposal to give statewide elected officials their first pay raise since 2005 apparently has been torpedoed by the chairman of his political party.

Under the proposed salary changes Branstad forwarded to the Legislature, the yearly pay for the governor would increase from $130,000 to $141,710 beginning with the Dec. 19, 2014, pay period – about a month after next year’s general election in November.

The proposal would boost the Iowa attorney general’s yearly salary from $123,669 to $134,800, while other statewide elected officials – lieutenant governor, secretaries of agriculture and state, secretary of agriculture and state treasurer – from their current $103,212 annual pay to $112,510 also effective on Dec. 19, 2014.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids charged Branstad as being “out of touch proposing a $10,000 pay raise for himself” – a statement the governor took Monday as a concession by Olson that he will win a sixth term “even though I’ve not said whether I’m going to run or not.”

“I submitted it, it’s up there. We’re still trying, but I’m not optimistic,” Branstad told the council made up of the treasurer, auditor, secretary of state and secretary of agriculture. “I think Tyler Olson has killed it. I think legislators are pretty leery.”

Fitzgerald thanked the governor for seeking a pay raise on their behalf that he and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, also a Democrat, supported. He said the proposed increase would have amounted to about a 1 percent yearly raise dating back nearly 10 years “which seemed modest and reasonable.”

Fitzgerald said he was disappointed with Olson’s criticism, saying “too many things in state government become just a political fight and that’s kind of what’s wrong with politics today.

“I thought the governor’s request was reasonable, but of course I had an interest in it,” he added. “It’s not going to happen so we move on. I’ll work as hard as I can, no matter what we get paid. I know what the pay is coming in and I’ll keep working as hard as I can every day.”

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