Are legislative pay raises an “emergency”?

Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) has threatened to shut down any informal session that looks to grant legislators and constitutional officers pay raises.  In informal session it only takes one legislator objection to shut down the whole session.  

Because of this Bob DeLeo has not brought the pay increases to the floor.  

Now there are Democrats who are openly calling for a special emergency formal session of all legislators to grant the raises.  This session would take place while Deval Patrick is governor and would presumably sign the legislation.

The Boston Herald has the story:

“We haven’t had a raise in six years,” bemoaned state Rep. Benjamin Swan, a Springfield Democrat who, as vice chairman of the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, is part of House leadership.

On Beacon Hill for more than 20 years, Swan couldn’t recall the last time an emergency session was called after lawmakers wrapped formal meetings for the year in July, but “I hope it would happen” for this.

“I think it would be appropriate to do it,” Swan said. “We need to have a reasonable compensation so people will want to serve in government … especially at the statewide level and in the Legislature. We’re a full-time Legislature, and it’s a full-time job.”

No Representative Swan it’s a full time job for one week out of the year, budget week in April. Other than that for most legislators it is a one day a week job that the get paid well over $65K a year to perform.  

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

  • Small government? Limited government?  Yeah. I’m down for the struggle. But I’m NOT down with paying these legislators a wage that basically eliminates anyone of substance from moving from the private sector to the legislature.

    One of the things I do to advance the cause of limited government is go to our several towns in Bristol and adjacent counties and ask people of substance and success to run for office as Republicans. As you might imagine, that’s a hard slog. The second-most-common reason that people don’t want to run is that they can’t afford the pay cut.

    I would support two changes to our legislature to alleviate this roadblock: the first would be to make State Senator a four-year position. This would encourage people to run, knowing they have two years off from campaigning out of every four. This is a pipe dream, admittedly. It would never happen.

    The second is doable: make legislative salaries $120k-$150k per year, plus all the bennies and committee pay. This would lure a whole segment of people who are naturally more fiscally conservative and more intelligent than our current crop of nincompoops.

    As it stands now, the only people who can afford to run are spouses, retirees, lifers, millionaires, and lawyers. Nobody can give up a decent job to campaign for 2-4 years to win a seat, and then expect to raise a family.

    These weasely nickel and dime raises are stupid and offensive. Either make it an essentially volunteer position, or pay people well to draw the best into legislative service.  

  • rbaker

    Members of the US House and Senate get $174,000 to represent 600,000, or 29 cents per citizen.  US Senators get the same amount to represent 6.6 Million MA citizens. Selectmen and School Committee members get $1 or so to represent 4,000 or so citizens (fraction of a cent per citizen).  The MA House members represent 40,000 which proportionately should pay about $12,000 per year, if you look a the ratio of the salary for the US House (best case).  

    A better way to look at this is to set the legislative schedule to run sessions only from 6-10 PM at night and acknowledge that this is a part-time position.

  • BrocktonDave
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