The new year is off to a good start for state Auditor Suzanne Bump, who stands to make $8,700 more than she did in 2020. While her work may merit a 5% increase, now is hardly the time or circumstance for one of the state’s top elected officials to accept it.
Bump’s colleagues in other state constitutional offices — Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Attorney General Maura Healey and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg — all declined raises that were automatically triggered by an increase in the state’s per capita income. After all, to accept would be an affront to taxpayers amid a pandemic that has left tens of thousands of people out of work and that has strained state resources. It’s politically daft besides.
Bump, who made $178,727,90 last year, should recognize as much. She should heed the words of the treasurer, who told State House News Service: “With so many people hurting, now is not the time to consider something like this.”
To be sure, such nobility isn’t uniform across Beacon Hill. As of Wednesday, only four lawmakers, Reps. Chris Hendricks of New Bedford, Anne Gobi and Donald Berthiaume, both of Spencer, and Sen. John Keenan of Quincy, had contacted Goldberg’s office to decline the extra pay.
And it’s still anyone’s guess if Secretary of State William Galvin, whose pay last year was the same as Bump’s, would reject or accept an increase. A spokeswoman told the News Service pay was not “top of mind” and that Galvin will “take a look at the numbers.”
No one likes to reject a raise, especially if opportunity only comes once every two years. The fact remains that the state’s leaders have a fiscal duty to taxpayers — one they ignore when they accept a raise in these difficult times.