The independent Commission on Compensation of Elected State Officials and State Judges is studying the possibility of better compensation for legislative leaders.
The board's chairman, Lewis. B. Rome, said that while the legislature is a part-time entity, the top leaders essentially hold full-time jobs, the Republican-American of Waterbury reported.
Rome said there is a big discrepancy between the workload of leaders and other lawmakers. (AP)
At least one leader, Speaker Amann, seems opposed to the idea, although Amann's spokesman did say he might be interested in "a modest, across-the-board increase for all legislators."
Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca disagreed:
"I don't think there should be a pay increase for anybody," Senate Minority Leader Louis C. DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said. "If we are going to have a part-time legislature, we have to keep the pay commensurate with a part-time legislature." (AP)
I think all legislators, including the leaders, should have a raise in their pay. Here's why:
- The legislature is becoming less and less part time. There have been special sessions almost every year for a long time, and the legislature is certainly more than a full-time pursuit when it's in session.
- Find me a job, other than lawyer, which allows its employees to be gone for half of the year, not to mention extras like hearings, special sessions and campaigning. There are very few--and almost none of them are jobs that most middle-class people have.
- $28,000 is not enough to live on if being a legislator is one's only career.
- Therefore, it's no wonder the General Assembly is thick with lawyers and members of the upper class. I couldn't afford to be a member, and neither could a lot of others.
There's something to be said for the ideal of the citizen-legislator, who works a regular job and has a life outside the Capitol. This model made sense a century ago., but I don't believe it does now.
Public financing of campaigns will help to open the General Assembly to people who wouldn't otherwise consider running. A better wage for legislators would help to open it even further.
What do you think?
"A Collection of Briefs From the State Capitol." Associated Press 12 January, 2007.