The commission that recommends salaries for lawmakers, executive officials and judges is hoping members of Arizona’s judiciary won’t have to go a full decade without a pay raise.

The Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers on Monday voted unanimously to recommend $15,000 pay raises for Superior Court, Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court judges. If Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature sign off on their commendations, they wouldn’t go into effect until at least January 2017.

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales told the commission that a $15,000 increase would be slightly above inflation since 2009 for trial court judges, and slightly below inflation for appellate and Supreme Court judges. He urged the commission to recommend an increase of at least $15,000 for all judges.

Commissioner Joe Kanefield echoed Bales’ comments in moving to recommend a $15,000 raise. He added that the amount of time it’s been since judges last saw a raise, in January 2009, is concerning. Many of the people appointed to judgeships could earn more in the private sector, and Kanefield warned of allowing that gap to grow wider.

“The economic conditions of the state during the Great Recession inhibited our ability to address judicial salaries in the past. But the economy has improved for the better,” Kanefield said. “That is no longer a valid reason to defer this important decision.”

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