The pay raise package that the legislature is actually voting on.

For much more background on this issue, please go to this link.

The actual legislation that the House and Senate will consider has now been released.

A few observations:

  • The legislation does adopt a rule against active outside income for the constitutional officers and top legislative leaders.
  • As to the constitutional officers, the legislation tracks the recommendations of the commission.
  • As to members of the legislature, the legislation does less for the top leaders than the commission recommended and more for other members.
    • Mid-level legislative leaders — committee chairs, etc. — do get increases. The commission recognized the need for adjustments, but did not detail them.
    • Most of the increases in leadership stipends are below the inflation since 1982 when they were last changed.
    • As the commission recommended, the package drops per diems and increases the expense allowance for all members.  However, the new total compensation for most members will remain a little below historical levels. The increase in the expense allowance is greater than what the commission proposed.  So, even with the loss of per diems, most members will see a total compensation increase of a few percentage points (the exact number depends on their previous use of per diems).  From an historical perspective, however, it is worth noting that base compensation of legislators was $30,000 in 1982 when the expense allowance was $2,400 — in today’s dollars, that works out to a total of $80,583 and in 1982, legislators were also collecting per diems.
    • The package does include compensation for some vice-chairmanships who have previously been uncompensated.
  • In addition to the commission’s recommendations, the legislation also addresses compensation of a number of judicial roles that have management responsibilities.

Comparison of Legislative Proposals and Historical Compensation Levels

PositionCurrent Salary*Last ChangedLegal basisCommission RecommendationsLegislative ProposalInflation at same rate as Consumer Prices
Governor151,800*1/1/2017G.L. c. 6, s.1250,000 including housing allowance250,000 including housing allowanceN/A
Attorney General130,582*1/1/2017G.L. c. 12, s.1175,000175,000N/A
Treasurer127,917*1/1/2017G.L., c.10, s.1175,000175,000N/A
Lieutenant Governor127,327*1/1/2017G.L. c. 6, s.2165,000165,000N/A
Secretary of State130,262*1/1/2017G.L. c. 9, s.1165,000165,000N/A
Auditor134,952*1/1/2017G.L. s. 11, s.1165,000165,000N/A
Legislator Base62,5471/1/2017Constitution, Article CXVIIINo changeNo changeN/A
Legislator Per Diem10 - 100 / travel day2000G.L. c. 3, s. 9BAbolishAbolish14 - 140 / travel day
Legislator Expense Allowance7,2002000G.L. c. 3, s. 9B10,000 -- 15,000 if over 50 miles from Boston15,000 -- 20,000 if over 50 miles from Boston10,035
Committee Vice Chairs0 or 7,500 depending on committee1982Differential originally enacted as Chapter 455 of Acts of 1982.Not specified, need for adjustment acknowledged5,200 or 15,000 depending on committee0 or 18,653 depending on committee
Committee Chairs7,500 or 15,000 depending on committee1982Differential originally enacted as Chapter 455 of Acts of 1982.Not specified, need for adjustment acknowledged15,000 or 30,000 depending on committee18,653 or 37,307 depending on committee
Ways and Means Chair Stipend25,0001982Differential originally enacted as Chapter 455 of Acts of 1982.Not specified, need for adjustment acknowledged65,00062,177
Speaker/Senate President Stipend35,0001982Differential originally enacted as Chapter 455 of Acts of 1982.102,453 (recommendation is for total of $175,000 with all components)80,00087,049

*Table does not reflect salary adjustments as of 1/1/2017 for constitutional officers.

For much more background on this issue, please go to this link.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

26 replies on “The pay raise package that the legislature is actually voting on.”

  1. I do not object to a raise but I repeat 40% is too high.

    The Governor tells us there has to be cuts. If we are on the precipice, DeLeo suggests a huge raise just does not make sense to me.

    It is difficult to vote yourself a raise. I understand how uncomfortable this is for you but I won’t sanction something this high. It is not reasonable when the rest of us grovel for wage increases.

    1. Please DO NOT vote to override the Governor’s veto of the outrageous 40% pay raise bill. There is a large group of constituents who feel this way and will actively work AGAINST any legislator who votes Yea to an override!
      Thank you.

  2. This is an ethical issue, public elected officials are elected to serve, no to be served. Public servants are all well compensated with public monies and benefits that many only can dream about.

  3. As a top performer in my high tech company I’ve received 2-3% every 18 months. This last round I received 0% because of cutbacks. I’m making less in terms of real money vs. cost of living than I was 10 years ago. Put that into perspective vs. a 40% increase.

    How about voting in term limits to keep those who primarily use the office to promote their outside legal and consulting revenue streams?

  4. I think we need to pay our legislators, or otherwise, only rich people will be able to afford to become legislators. This will lead to a bad result, in my opinion.

    I support this legislation.

  5. In my experience, when I worked, I am retired, raises were every year. Rarely was this missed in over 40 years of work.
    Here the last time Constitutional Officers got a raise was, I believe, DECADES ago. So I think where they are here is reasonable.

  6. Ignored is probably the most significant compensation—-pensions upon retirement!
    That is VERY important .

    1. True. But, the interesting thing is that the pension picture has generally gotten worse for legislators over the past few decades. The required contributions have gone up and we have closed a lot of loopholes.

  7. Will, I wish you would be more proactive to oppose this as written, or to offer an amendment to provide something for the good government agenda. This bill is the perfect opportunity to close a glaring outside job loophole for everyone, not just the leaders and constitutional offices.

    Currently, our statute still even allows a full-time legislator to hold a second full-time *government* position, let alone private position. (It bans two state jobs, but allows a double-dip between state and local govts. Former Reps Latigua and Toomey took advantage of this.) On the private side, the Herald reported a few years ago in their article “WASTE DEEP” that more than half of our 200 legislators hold down other jobs, some even full-time.

    If you were interviewing someone for a full-time job and they said, “Oh by the way, I have another full-time job,” would you not laugh them out of the room? Even if they said they have a 20-hour/week job, wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable hiring them? So why should we care to send our pols to the top of the salary scale if nearly half of them show such disrespect to their duties, to their constituents, and to taxpayers?

    1. This needs to be part of a bargain that includes reforms. In this climate people won’t tolerate a package that’s all gimme no givee. Unless you want a surge of losses to Republicans or Independents.

      As someone who knew Hillary would lose, I eagerly await hearing someone telling me Democrats won’t lose any seats over this.

    2. Adam, I note that neither of the people you mention is still in office and both were turned out by the voters. The two elected job thing is a bit much.

      But lots of people, in and out of the legislature, have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

      The new legislation does bar outside work for the legislative leaders, but not for all legislators.

      I happen to approach the job of being a legislator in a way that would make it pretty hard for me to do anything else. And I really don’t think most legislators are able to do a lot of outside work.

      But I would not judge harshly a legislator who does a little outside to make ends meet for their family.

      One byproduct of a pay increase will be that fewer legislators feel compelled to supplement their income and that will be a good thing.

  8. What does “not specified, need for adjustment acknowledged” mean? Fairness dictates acceptance and enactment of the legislative proposal as it is written. Any lower amount is abusive and archaic. We have to preserve a legislative body with great minds and vision.

    1. Thank you, Lorraine. I just meant that the Commission didn’t fill in the details as to appropriate raises for middle-level legislative leaders. Here are their exact words:

      The Special Advisory Commission recognizes that reasonable adjustments to the stipends provided to other House and Senate leadership positions are justified.

  9. I was unaware that statue permits a full time legislator to have another full time job at the same time! Despite the fact that public sector work pays less than work in the private sector, this loophole needs to be obliterated, & it needs to be done far sooner than later. How can one commit the time and energy demanded by the work of a full time legislator while working a second full time job?

    1. This bill would take an important step in that direction by prohibiting outside employment for the top leaders.

      Very few if any legislators have a second full time job. But some (a minority, I believe) do work a second job of some sort to make ends meet. I think that it is up to voters to say that a particular legislator is not working hard enough for them. I wouldn’t completely prohibit outside employment for all legislators.

  10. The recommendations for legislative and other constitutional office compensation seem pretty reasonable to me, given private sector comparisons. However, my blood started to boil this morning when I read in the Globe that this bill will result in a pay increase for the Suffolk County Register of Deeds – a job that arguably shouldn’t exist and certainly shouldn’t be an elected position.

  11. Will, I’m sorry to be late to the conversation, but I was with you until the recent disclosures that the content extended beyond the Legislative Leadership and the Constitutional Officers.

    The optics on this bill have gotten worse especially with the disclosure that it includes the judiciary (and cannot be repealed by referendum) and all those whose salaries are tied to judges’ salaries. As appropriate as some of these raises are, I fear that passage as is will only increase cynicism about politics and government. If it passes and the Governor vetoes it, he will be the hero regardless of any override vote (which would only make matters worse).

    I think the bill should be pulled back and amended to the original intent of fulfilling the Commission’s recommendations regarding the Legislative Leadership and the Constitutional Officers.

    1. I agree that the most compelling parts of this package are the leadership stipend increases, which have been delayed for decades. However, I believe that the judges’ pay increase is also merited. As to those automatically linked to judicial pay, I’m less convinced. But all together, it is a package I do support.

  12. Indeed. I want a dollar amount listed, at least reflecting the legislative proposal and hopefully much more, given the effort and expertise involved and the amounts listed for the higher offices. Please push this through this session. Re-files are glacial. Thank you.

  13. This is nothing but a corrupt pay grab by the Legislature to enrich themselves and judges who DON’T deserve the money. The tax payers who will pay for this “heist” did not approve it through any referendum process. It is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy and it reinforces the argument many make for not trusting government. I know of NO ONE outside of government who can vote themselves a 40,000 pay raise at taxpayer expense. This legislative trickery shows you up for the LIARS; FRAUDS and CROOKS you really are. And I don’t care how you BS the electorate by fudging the numbers or couching your words in “legislative legalese” to cover up what you’ve done. You should all be kicked out because you’ve just violated the public trust. You’re not worthy to “serve” the people of Massachusetts. YOU ONLY SERVE YOURSELVES.

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