Valladares declines legislator pay increase

Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares speaks during the Valley Industry Association's fourth annual State of the State luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia in Valencia on Friday, 062521. Dan Watson/The Signal

Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, recently announced she will not accept a pay increase awarded to the state’s constitutional officers, including state legislators like herself. 

Valladares, first elected to office in 2020, informed State Controller Betty Yee of her decision in a June 18 letter.  

She wrote she heard from thousands of constituents who lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those constituents, she said, “have yet to receive the unemployment benefits they need to keep their lights on and put food on their tables.” 

Valladares also listed as concerns the permanent closure of restaurants and other businesses, the loss of in-person instruction time in schools and rising gas prices due to a gas tax increase. 

Valladares wrote that the state’s “grid cannot meet demand,” resulting in the state recently asking Californians to reduce their energy consumption. 

“Many of my constituents are struggling and not receiving the government services they need. With this in mind, I am denying the approved legislative pay increase,” she wrote. 

The California Citizens Compensation Commission approved the 4.2% pay increase last month, attributing its decision to pay increases for many state employees and an improving state budget. 

The pay increase will bring legislators’ official pay to $119,700 in December when the pay bump takes effect. 

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, who recently announced he will run in the gubernatorial recall election in September, is the only other constitutional officer to have sent a similar letter declining the pay increase as of Wednesday, according to Jennifer Hanson, press secretary at the Office of State Controller Betty Yee. 

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