Charlie Baker vetoes legislative pay raises.

A point of clarification: this bill doesn't (and constitutionally can't) change the base pay of legislators, which remains in the $60K vicinity. What it does is dramatically increase bonuses to legislators in "leadership" positions, thereby increasing the gap between those legislators and the rank and file. - promoted by david

“Given the commonwealth’s fiscal outlook as we continue to right-size our budget, close the structural deficit and reduce the reliance on one-time revenues without raising taxes, we felt it was important to veto this fiscally irresponsible legislation,” Baker told reporters at a press conference in his Statehouse office, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito standing next to him.

Okay Charlie, in short, your position is that “now is not the time to raise the wages of or state legislators”.

Charlie, these people make about $60K a year.  

I made more than that as a service dispatcher for a repair company.  You can make that as a department manager at a grocery store.

Oh, I know, this is supposed be a “part time” position.  Have you ever spoken with a state senator or representative?  I have.  While on the surface, it appears to be a “part time” position and many supplement their income with side jobs, it’s not a “part time: position.  Well, it may be if they never leave their house to shop for groceries or go out to dinner with their spouse.  It may be considered a “part time” position if they never answer their phones or check emails.  The truth is that it is a full time, almost full life position.  When  constituents call for help, or see the rep or senator shopping at the market and have a question or problem do you really expect them to reply with “sorry, I’m off at the moment.  It’s just a part time job, serving you, protecting your rights in the Commonwealth, and I’m off at the moment,  Please try again later”.    Is THIS the government you want for the citizens of Massachusetts?

But I digress.

If now is not the time to raise the wages of our state legislators, what is the time?  Specifically, what economic/budget/employment conditions must exist before Charlie Baker will approve a pay raise for these public servants of Massachusetts?  In addition, can you point to a time in our state’s history where these conditions actually existed?   Finally, what changes are you suggesting to get to these conditions, assuming they exist and have existed before?

My hunch is that you, like so many Republicans today, want our government run by people who are wealthy enough to work without a salary, you know, people like Donald Trump.


17 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. A part time position


    If there is a more direct way to nurture corruption than to practically require legislators to have a second job, one over which they will have at least some regulatory power, I don’t know what it is.

    Unless you’re stinking rich. Not my first choice for leadership criterion either.

    sabutai   @   Sun 29 Jan 10:03 PM

    as a former legislative aide and progressive, I must say, you framed the issue perfectly.

    Would you do those of us who agree with you a favor ? Please submit this to the Boston Globe : AND to my hometown newspaper of record : the Wakefield Daily Item : ? Include your name, address, email and phone.

    If, for any reason, you can’t or won’t do that ? Would you allow me to submit it for you under your byline?

    This is just too important not to share with the public at large.

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

  3. I'm fine with raising pay...

    …and I suspect budgetarily this is a drop in the bucket, but I would have spread it out over a number of years. Jumping by several grand all at once is just asking to confirm the worst stereotypes of politicians.

  4. Not the smartest way to kick off the campaign against Charlie Baker . . .

    . . .but I suspect that the legislative leadership knows that. The calculation is probably that this won’t cost any legislator his or her job, and that replacing Baker is not a top priority with them.

  5. No new raises until new revenue

    I know some staffers who got a we deserved raise (one they were expecting to see for at least a year) and I would keep those intact-but after cutting social services and laying off so many essential employees in other sectors this is kind of ridiculous. Especially coming from Robert “no new taxes” DeLeo.

    This veto is the kind of stance unenrolled voters and even a lot of Democrats in this state elect a Republican governor to do. The popular thing is to keep taxes low and blame all the cuts on the Governor. Real leadership is delaying raises until all of our essential service especially the T get the help they need from sustainable revenue. If the legislature can do its job on new revenue-including moving its ass on marijuana markets-then it can reward itself.

  6. So the argument, as I underatand it

    is that our legislature will be less likely to give phoney baloney jobs at the Probation Department to their buddies if they made more money?

    I’m not sure I am convinced. I am less convinced because the proposal seems more interested in raising the extra stipends given to legislative leadership than it does in raising the salaries of legislators. Under the vetoed proposal, The Speakah would go from getting his $60,000 salary plus $35,000 stipend for being speaker to $60,000 plus $80,000 extra, with similar benefits for committee chairs. That seems like another means for an already too-powerful leadership to reward the legislatures who do what they’re told.

    • Exactly

      And this is a great issue to give Baker to run on. Nice work again, as usual. DeLeo may just be in it strictly for the money at this point-with the power as a mere conduit for cash. At least that’s been the Chicago Way.

    • I don't think this is about patronage benefiting others.

      I think the idea, which I favor, is to pay legislators enough that they don’t need to take outside work THEMSELVES (which wouldn’t be state work as I believe that already is illegal).

    • The argument is

      than if legislative salaries are kept low enough, only wealthy people will be able to make a go of being a legislator without financial hardship.

      • so why not raise legislator's salaries

        instead of leadership’s stipends?

        Answer: it isn’t about legislator’s salaries. It is about giving the leadership the power to reward their buddies, financially.

        • We've also have constitutionally...

          …tied base pay to the median household income, so that can’t be touched. Of course, I suppose one advantage to being such a small legislative party is on the GOP side there is a leadership position for everyone so everyone in their caucus gets a pay increase:)

  7. If we want to give pay raises to people who really deserve it,

    start with the aides.

    I don’t really have a problem with legislators getting a pay bump, but the aides are working crazy hours, too, and barely make enough to live on.

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