In the same year we saw the Legislature take nearly six months to hammer out a budget, and the state grapple with a billion-dollar-plus defecit, Gov. Jay Inslee is adding more than $100,000 to the annual budget by handing out BIG pay increases to certain agency leaders.

The Olympian newspaper and a National Public Radio reporter have indicated some of these raises are as high as 17 percent. Inslee spokesman David Postman said in a statement the increases were warranted because it brings these individuals more in line with other members of the governor's cabinet. The increases include:

  • Pat Kohler, director of the Department of Licensing: 17 percent jump to $141,000 annually.
  • Health Care Authority Director Dorothy Frost Teeter: 15 percent bump to $152,000.

According to KPLU-Radio12 of Inslee's 25 cabinet members got raises -- most of them between 2 to 8 percent. Postman had the following statement about the raises:

It’s a priority of the governor’s to do it and do it well... It’s important for the economy, it’s important for the health of the people of Washington state. It’s a bigger job than it was prior to this year.”

Most Washington residents -- especially those looking for work or underemployed -- would have a different view of whats important for the economy.

You would think, at least for political reasons, Inslee would try to "lead by example" and do everything he can to make it look like he's cutting costs.

Meanwhile, most other state workers are coming off a pay and benefits freeze that was in effect for many months, then the mandatory furloughs. Just this summer, a 3 percent pay cut taken by all state workers was finally restored.