Jan. 17, 2017 - Atlanta - Georgia Governor Nathan Deal made his budget address before the joint appropriations committee as House and Senate budget hearings opened for the 2017 session. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia governor signs bill to increase salary of next governor

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill Tuesday that will increase the salary of his successor by 25 percent.

House Bill 202, sponsored by state Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, sets the next governor’s salary at $175,000, up from the $139,339 that the chief state executive now earns. The new law goes into effect in 2019, meaning Deal will not be eligible to benefit from the pay hike, but one of the handful of politicians who have already entered the 2018 gubernatorial race could be.

When proposed in the Legislature, Democrats expressed confusion as to why lawmaker salaries were not also considered for a raise. And an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation in January found that state officials received pay raises — some administrators saw increases as high as 35 percent — despite pleas to curb state spending. This measure makes the state’s leader a top state earner.

Deal’s pay is in the median range for governors, according to the Council of State Governments, with salaries ranging from $70,000 in Maine to $190,000 in Pennsylvania.

The new law also clarifies reimbursements, compensations and allowances for state-related expenses.

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