You get what you pay for?

I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for." That's why I'm always advocating for better pay in every sector of government. Public agencies and departments should be models of excellence that inspire confidence and attract the best and brightest people to serve at every level.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- State lawmakers haven't given themselves a raise in more than a decade, and with each passing year, more legislators say serving in the General Assembly isn't as agreeable as it use to be. And that was before new lobbying restrictions took effect this year that turned their free steak dinners into Dutch treat at the local cafeteria.

The "part-time" Legislature can turn into a near 12-month job if a lawmaker is appointed to some committees that meet after lengthy regular sessions end. But the $13,951 salary for most members has remained the same since 1995, as have the $104 daily expense rate during the session in Raleigh.

Inflation has eroded the buying power of those payments by 27 percent.

As the AP article explains . . . .

"You're getting people who don't even want to serve down here," said Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, who has filed several bills this decade seeking pay, expense and mileage reimbursement increases. "Only those who can serve are those who are wealthy and who are retired."

That could explain a lot.

Wealthy and retired. Not exactly who I want making public policy for We the People.

Comments

Such is the problem...

with legislators giving themselves raises. If they vote for it then they get attacked. If they dont then we get where we are now.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

They get attacked by

the anti-tax zealots whose idea of excellence is Walmart's approach to HR management. Regular people would understand the issue if anyone would take the time to explain it. Problem is, people in the legislature are scared to death of doing anything that might upset the Republicans for a Legislative Majority, otherwise known as the Art Pope Electioneering System (APES).

they already

have to deal with attacks and being told over and over again during campaigns that spending money on things like a rainy day fund and for putting money into things like raising the minimum wage.

can you imagine what they would say if they gave themselves a pay raise?

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Merit Pay

Republicans get nuttin' :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

That would be good

or maybe they'd have to pay US to serve in the lege, since they spend all their time working to undermine the value of public service.

Wouldn't it surprise the living daylights out of them

if we started a call to increase their pay and expense reimbursement so that serving isn't such a hardship? I can imagine the looks on their faces if they were flooded with emails saying they deserved to get a bigger paycheck.



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

do one bill

just index both the minimum wage and their pay to inflation.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

I'm with you.


One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

My county commissoners suposidly get

$350 a month. And they dont get an expense account. Why would you want to be a commissioner?

I might run for that just because. If I dont like it, can not run after 4 total years. I can put up with the BS for 4 years.

I might not win solely cause I cant spell worth a dang! But then again, who reads what county commissioners put out anyways?

Do it, Parmea.

You should run and run hard. Spelling doesn't matter one bit once you have "spell-checking" hooked up to your Internets.

between

the newest versions of Word and Firefox you should never have a misspelled word again!

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

County Commissioners

can have someone spell check for them. And you have lots of friends here who would be glad to proof-read for you.

Go for it - you have great ideas and passion. Your county would be lucky to have you.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Years ago I remember arguing against this

now I think it was for all the wrong reasons, I agree now, they should have a raise, written like BlueSo suggested. We do get what we pay for and I think that can be taken into the bid process too. Is it always best to take the lowest bid?

It takes money and a lot of it to run which can leave good guys in debt. But once there, $13,951 for a 40 hour week comes to $6.71 per hour, add $104 per day for 5 days X 52 weeks and thats $27,040, which comes to another $13.00 per hour, for a total of $19.71 p/h, not exactly executive pay.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

they actually

get perdiem 7 days a week, but only while the legislature is in session.

Except our friend Grier Martin doesnt take per-diem. Well he used to not do so. He lives so close that he doesnt think its right to get per-diem to eat at home and sleep in his own bed.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

depends

In a long session year (05, 07 etc) they can be in session for 6-9 months. In a short session year(04, 06) they are usually only in session for 3 months, rarely more than 4 to 5.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Yikes

6 - 9 X 7 = 42 - 63 X $104 = $4368 - $6552 That's sad!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

there are

a lot of other things going on too. not only do they get per-diem, but they get a certain amount for their mileage back and forth etc.

The average legislator gets about 40,000 a year during a long session and around 25 to 30 thousand during a short session I think.

By the way, if anyone is interested, how much they get is easily accesible to you if you contact the legislature.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Wrong way to phrase it, Blue South

They earn $13,951 and are reimbursed the remainder of that amount. They don't "get" anything. We know what gas costs and most are driving - some driving back and forth each day if they aren't too far from home. Then you have hotel rooms/apartments/food and other incidental expenses incurred for travel and staying away from home.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Raising lege pay

makes sense. It shouldn't cost money to be in public service. But if they get a raise, they'd better be working to raising the average (not the minimum!) living wage for North Carolinians.

Just sayin'.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

They could give themselves some political cover

and vote for a raise that is effective with the next term in 2009. That way, they have to get re-elected to get the raise.

$13,951 is absurdly low for such an important job. No average person can afford to leave their job for that.

Just did my taxes

and I get $19,920 from the Navy, so adding $13,951 for being a legislator would be $33,871 before taxes. I could live on that but only because I am single. Don't understand how anyone else could be a politician unless they love power, have an awesome significant other, or have money from someone else.

Not sure, but of the three, I would choose the awesome significant other guy over anyone else. The other two do not know what it is to be a normal person. Or go after a "young" retired person who might be able to make it on their retirement as well as that tiny bit of cash.

Why would anyone want to be a state legislator?

Totally agree with you A.

Anybody who has looked into running for the Legislature or knows someone who's looked into it understands that Legislators need a raise. I think the situation is critical. You can find great, smart, qualified candidates but when they are regular people with real jobs and you explain the math to them the question is never, "Do I want to serve and do I think I have what it takes?" The question always comes down to, "Can I afford to run and can I live on that salary?"

If we think about it, none of us wants the People's House wholly made up of wealthy people. I'll bet dollars to donuts that Legislative aids make a whole lot more than the Legislators for whom they work. That is a sad sad situation.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Several Good Questions Here

Blue South gives a fine answer: index both legislative pay AND the minimum wage.

The problem with passing the legislative pay increase is that it seems selfish for legislators to raise their own pay.

And the minimum wage...well, why ISN'T it indexed? The answer is that BOTH R's and D's (the leadership, at least) don't want it indexed. The R's win every year the min wage doesn't change, and the D's win when finally the min wage is raised after a five or ten year wait.

Indexing it would rob BOTH party leaderships of a nice fund-raising issue. But indexing is OBVIOUSLY the right thing to do.

As for Anglico's main claim, that we get what we pay for...we run the risk of the rich-or-old-or-both problem.

Here is the ranking (sorry for the length, but it is interesting)
US Legislative Salaries: How States Rank (Not including per diem or states that pay lawmakers by the day or month.)

California $99,000
New York $79,500
Pennsylvania $61,889.71
Michigan $56,981
Illinois $53,581
Ohio $51,674
Massachusetts $49,710
Wisconsin $44,233
Oklahoma $38,400
New Jersey $35,000
Delaware $32,200
Washington $32,064
Hawaii $32,000
Maryland $31,509
Minnesota $31,140.90
Alabama $30,710
Colorado $30,000
Connecticut $28,000
Florida $27,900
Alaska $24,012
Arizona $24,000
Iowa $21,380.54
North Carolina $20,659
Maine $18,315
Virginia $18,000 in the Senate
Virginia $17,640 for Delegates
Louisiania $16,900
Tennessee $16,500
Georgia $16,200
Idaho $15,646
Oregon $15,396
West Virginia $15,000
Arkansas $12,769
Nebraska and South Dakota $12,000
Indiana $11,600
Rhode Island $11,236
South Carolina $10,400
Mississippi $10,000
Texas $7,200
New Hampshire $200
New Mexico $0
Nine states do not provide annual salaries for their lawmakers, but instead provide a daily salary or monthly salary with a per diem for days they are in session.
Kansas lawmakers earn $76.44 a day with an $85 per diem.
Kentucky legislators get $158.18 a day with a $93.50 per diem.
Montana representatives make $71.43 a day with a $75.00 per diem.
Utah legislators get $120 a day with a $117 per diem.
Wyoming lawmakers make $125 a day with an $80.00 per diem.
Nevada legislators get $130 a day with an $85.00 per diem.
North Dakota lawmakers are paid $250 a month with a $111 per diem.
Vermont legislators get $536 a week with an $87 per diem.
Missouri lawmakers get $2,612.62 a month and $68 per diem.

And you can look it up.... (I SHOULD NOTE: These data are five years old...But it's hard to find anything up to date for all the states). (Whoops! Found a more up to date one, 2005. But not ranked. Still, better to use these: http://www.empirecenter.org/html/legislative_salaries.cfm )

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." --Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795.

Michael C. Munger

Thanks

for the comment and info.

An interesting addition would be to see how long their legislative sessions are. For instance, under the Maryland constitution they are only allowed 90 days of session (i think), so you could actually hold down a normal job the rest of the time.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Hello Mr. Mike!

This is great information. Thank you.

I wish you'd spend more time around here. It's always interesting to see what you have to say - and have so much to say, too!

How's the campaign going? Are we going to see you on the ballot?