Inflation is driving up consumer prices and will drive a big salary increase for Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges and top executive branch officials in 2022. For many of these positions, it’s the biggest increase in three decades.
Salaries across the board will rise 5.6%, a figure tied by state law to the year-over-year change in the consumer price index published last week by the U.S. Department of Labor for mid-Atlantic urban areas.
It is the largest year-over-year increase since 1991, according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The increase applies to more than 1,300 positions, including the governor, Cabinet members, three statewide elected officers, all 253 lawmakers and state and county judges. It takes effect Dec. 1 for lawmakers and Jan. 1 for judicial and executive branch officials.
The highest paid of them is the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Max Baer, who will get a bump of more than $12,000 to almost $234,000. The other six justices on the court will see their salaries rise to $227,000.
Lawmakers passed legislation to cancel the annual increase for this year, which would have been less than 1%.
Next year’s increase, however, is three times larger than the increase state officials received last year. It comes at a time of steady growth in wages for private sector workers.
Federal data through August showed average weekly earnings for all private-sector workers in Pennsylvania increased 4.4% year-over-year to $974.24, or about $50,000 over an entire year.
The 24 judges on two statewide courts will earn $214,000, except for those courts’ two president judges, who will earn above $220,000. The vast majority of county judges will earn above $190,000, while hundreds of district judges will earn above $98,000.
The highest-paid executive branch official affected by the increase is the governor; the salary for the office will rise to $213,000. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said he will donate the salary to charity, as he has every year he’s been in office.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will see his salary rise to almost $179,000 while Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Auditor General Tim DeFoor and Treasurer Stacy Garrity will see their salaries rise to $177,000. Seven Cabinet secretaries will earn above $170,000.
Rank-and-file lawmakers will see their salaries rise above $95,000, while members of leadership make more, up to almost $149,000 for the House speaker, Bryan Cutler, and the Senate president pro tempore, Jake Corman. The floor leaders of the four caucuses will make $138,000.