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SC Governor Watch: Big Pay Hikes




New South Carolina governor Henry McMaster is paying his chief of staff Trey Walker an annual taxpayer-funded salary of $165,000, not counting benefits.

That’s a 32 percent pay hike over what Walker’s predecessor earned …

In terms of actual dollars and cents, Walker (a.k.a. “Trey Boy”) will receive $40,000 more per year than former governor Nikki Haley paid her chief of staff, Swati Patel – and $60,000 more than Haley’s predecessor Mark Sanford paid his chief of staff, Tom Davis.

Is he worth it?  Eh …

Sources tell us Walker’s salary bump is one of many pay raises to keep an eye on in the new governor’s office – which witnessed the awarding of massive pay hikes after Haley took office in 2011.

Unlike Haley, a one-time Tea Partier, McMaster has never really advocated on behalf of limited government – so it’s hard to call him a hypocrite in doling out pay raises to his top staffers.  Also when you consider we’re dealing with a state budget that’s likely to top the $28 billion mark this coming year, Walker’s $40,000 raise (or other staff raises awarded by McMaster) aren’t going to move the needle one way or the other.

Still, appearances matter … and this is bad optics for the new governor, especially if he winds up signing off on a budget that raises taxes or fees on South Carolinians who haven’t seen similar gains in their incomes.

Banner via Henry McMaster for Governor