Representative Bob Thorpe introduced legislation, HB2273, that establishes a compensation cap for public employees in an effort to curb excessive public employee salaries.
HB2273 would cap the annual salary and benefits package for public employees at four times the median family income for Arizona.
University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart and Arizona State University President Michael Crow complained about state’s budget just passed by the Arizona Legislature. On Friday, the first structurally-balanced plan since 2007 was passed by the Legislature during a grueling all-night session.
The budget includes more than $600 million in general fund dollars for universities.
Arizona Representative Dr. Randall Friese echoed Crow and Hart as he complained bitterly about the budget during the floor discussions on Friday. Friese, who earns $404,000 as a professor of surgery, according to University of Arizona records, called the budget “devastating.”
In September 2014, the Arizona Board of Regents gave Crow a 20 percent raise in base pay. As a result, his total annual compensation rose to almost $900,000. Hart, receives $475,000, and can earn up to $40,000 in bonuses for meeting certain goals. According to the Arizona Republic, “Both have the potential to earn far more in 2015, up to $180,000 for Crow and $170,000 for Hart.”
The burden for keeping hundreds of staff on the payroll for hundreds of thousands of dollars each will surely be passed on to the students. Of those employees over 500 make $200,000 a year, these 500 employees’ salaries total over $145 million.
“Last year it was reported that over 1,200 public employees in Maricopa County alone were pulling in over $100,000 per year,” said Representative Thorpe, who earned the nickname Thorpedo. “Taxpayers must ask themselves if these administrators, some of whom are earning over $300,000 a year, are truly bringing more value to the state than the average Arizona worker earning a quarter of this salary.”
“In Pima County, we have seen requests for salary increases from $280,000 to $288,000 for one county administrator, as well as the salary for the city manager of Phoenix sitting at a staggering $319,000,” continued Thorpe.
“We have seen other states go down this dark path of paying public employees excessive salaries, and the trend is beginning to find its way to Arizona,” continued Thorpe.
“In 2015, it was reported that Pima County had a count of 219 employees with salaries greater than $100 thousand per year. These public sector salaries are far outpacing private sector salary growth and reforms are needed. I applaud Rep. Thorpe for introducing this much needed legislation and will fully support the passage of this bill,” stated Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller.