Topeka — Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer is making 50 percent more than his statutory salary. His boss, Gov. Sam Brownback, has taken a 10-percent pay cut.
Brownback’s office said the governor cut his own pay because he knew he would be asking state agencies and their employees to make cuts to balance the budget.
The governor’s salary is set in statute as $110,707 per year. Brownback is making $99,636, according to the governor’s office.
But Colyer is getting additional pay because he has been assigned by Brownback the task of leading a review of the state Medicaid plan.
Under state law, the lieutenant governor makes $36,000 per year. Colyer is making $54,000 per year.
Several legislators had questions about Colyer’s salary during a meeting on Monday of the House Appropriations Committee.
Republicans defended Colyer’s pay. “He’s taking on additional responsibilities,” said Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane.
Brownback has put Colyer in charge of a review of Medicaid, a jointly funded state and federal program that in Kansas provides health care services for low-income children, pregnant women, elderly and those with disabilities.
Brownback has said he wants to reduce costs and improve services in the program.
In previous administrations, lieutenant governors have received compensation in various forms, sometimes serving as a Cabinet secretary and getting that salary.
In 2009, former Gov. Mark Parkinson appointed his chief of staff, Troy Findley, to be lieutenant governor. Findley maintained his salary of $100,000 as chief of staff and took no extra funds as lieutenant governor, according to Brownback’s office. In 2010, Lt. Gov. Findley received $95,000 per year as a “special assistant to the governor” while Parkinson hired another person as his chief of staff at $97,596, the office said.