Legislators Pay Raise Rejected
On Monday, the Senate debated for more than seven hours whether to turn down a $1,800 pay increase over the next two years and a per diem increase to $150. Lawmakers currently make roughly $36,000 a year, plus a $104 a day per diem for miscellaneous costs like food and lodging.
Ultimately, the pay increase was rejected just before midnight on a 25-2 vote. The vote, which passed House Concurrent Resolution 4 came just before the required deadline, after which an automatic pay raise for state lawmakers and statewide elected officials would have gone into effect. The House voted 154-5 on the issue.
A citizen panel, the Missouri Citizens Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials, recommends pay for legislators and statewide elected officials in Missouri. Article XIII, Section 3 of the Missouri Constitution requires the Commission to meet every even year, the commission evaluates whether to increase officials’ pay, and the group’s suggestions will automatically take effect in July unless two-thirds of the Missouri Legislature votes for a concurrent resolution disapproving the increase by February 1. This process and addition to the Constitution was approved by a statewide vote in 1994.
Lawmakers can vote to block any raises from going into effect. The last time legislators and statewide elected officials received a pay increase was Fiscal Year 2009, due to inaction on a disapproving resolution that year.
The General Assembly failed to disapprove the salary commission recommendations in 1999, 2007, 2009 and 2011. In 2011, legislators were not included in the recommended raises. The 1996, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2014 and 2016 reports from the commission were not approved by the General Assembly. In 2004 and 2012, the governors at that time failed to appoint members to the commission so no report was ever generated and there was nothing for the General Assembly to vote on concerning pay increases.
In conclusion, I have been and will continue to be against a pay increase for legislators. There were several Senators who did not share my opinion but at the end of Monday evening, the resolution was passed and we will not be receiving a pay increase.
February 5-11, is Thank A Farmer week. It is a celebration of farmers and ranchers that provide us with a quality and consistent food supply. Make sure to take a moment and thank a farmer in your community for their hard work and the benefits they provide to all of us.
It is an honor to be your State Senator and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.