Legislators’ pay raise draws criticism

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he thinks it’s appropriate for lawmakers to tie their salaries to the cost of living. But the governor says a decision by the House to boost their pay by 24% goes too far. The House earlier this week, by a two-vote margin, gave its approval to a plan to boost legislative salaries to $666 a week.

Backers of the plan argued that the move was necessary because it’s been eight years since there’s been any adjustment to their salary. The proposal also ties future wage increases to the cost of living, so that lawmakers will not have to deal with this issue in the years to come.

Douglas says the indexing provision makes a lot of sense but he thinks the 24% increase is out of line:

(Douglas) “I think it’s better to increase all salaries modestly as the cost of living rises, as opposed to wait a long time and consider doing it at once. But to propose this level of an increase in this economic and fiscal climate is too much in my view.”

(Host) The Senate Government Operations Committee is now reviewing this issue and it’s not clear if the panel will recommend any salary increase for lawmakers.

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