6.2% Pay Raise For Iowa Judges Means They Still Lag Pay In Every Surrounding State

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa district court judges are paid less than judges in every state that touches Iowa.

While the Iowa Supreme Court’s chief justice has recommended a more than six percent salary hike for Iowa judges, that still won’t bring their pay in line with any surrounding state. In January, Chief Justice Susan Christensen told lawmakers Iowa district court judges have gone without pay raises in 10 of the last 15 years and they now make 16-thousand dollars less per year than South Dakota judges and 38-thousand dollars less than judges in Nebraska.

Bob Gast, the state court administrator, says the number of applicants for district court judgeships has declined 61 percent in the past 20 years.

State Representative Brian Lohse, a Republican from Bondurant, is chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that drafts a budget for the the state’s court system. He says raising the salaries of district court judges is a goal he hopes to achieve this year, but lawmakers haven’t settled on a number yet.

The annual salary for a district court judge today is just over 158-thousand dollars. The average salary for an attorney in Iowa’s capitol city of Des Moines is four thousand dollars higher.


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