The pay hikes come at a time when most other state workers are required to take an unpaid furlough each month to save money.
The raises also could affect balloting next month, when voters will decide the fate a measure to extend new tax increases in return for a limit on future state spending.
"They're claiming that we are facing financial Armageddon at the same time they're handing out pay increases," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which is helping to rally opposition to the controversial Proposition 1A.
"How could they be so stupid? Did they think we wouldn't notice? ... I think it will absolutely hurt them at the polls."