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Now is not the time: Rep. Day opposes pay raises for elected officials

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Jan. 22, 2009) — It’s already the third week of the 2009 legislative session, and we are beginning to work through stacks of bills and legislation that have already been introduced. Many of our proposals are aimed at helping you and your family during these tough economic times and ensuring better, more efficient and careful use of your tax dollars. 

One of our first priorities this session is to act on the recommendations of the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials. In its 2008 report, the commission recommends a cost of living increase for all state elected officials equal to whatever we, the General Assembly, approve for state employees and an additional $1500 increase for associate circuit judges. The Constitution requires that we act on the recommendation as a whole, and does not allow us to pick and choose and pass some increases but not others.

While we look at possibly cutting the budget of many of our state departments, I will vote to reject the recommendations of the citizens’ commission. I think most people would agree with me that this is not the time for any elected official at any level to be receiving any pay increases. This year in the House, Rep. Mike McGhee from Odessa has sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 5, which proposes to disapprove the recommendations of the commission and hold the salaries of elected officials at their current level. In order to move this resolution through both the House and the Senate before the constitutional deadline, McGhee introduced the resolution on the first day of session and it was the first item that the House Committee on Rules acted upon. 

Since November 2006, Article 13 of the Constitution requires both the House and the Senate to act on the recommendations before Feb. 1. It takes a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate to override the recommendation. If it fails in either chamber to be overridden, it becomes law. Before 2006, the recommendations of the commission only went into effect if the General Assembly included the raises in the budget. 

In 2007, McGhee introduced a similar resolution and the House voted to disapprove the commission’s recommendation with an overwhelming majority. However the Senate refused to take action to kill the bill and the raises passed. We do not want to see this happen again this year and are taking the steps move the rejection of the recommended pay increases through both chambers before the end of the month and keep these funds available for more important initiatives such as job creation and education programs.

When McGhee’s resolution reaches the House floor early next week, I plan to vote for the resolution, which will be a vote against ANY and ALL pay raises. It’s just not right for us to even consider raising our salaries while so many Missourians are struggling.

As always, please contact me anytime I can be of service. Thank you for the honor of representing you in our state’s capitol.

Contact information:
Rep. David Day
Missouri House of Representatives
148th District
Phone: (573) 751-1446
E-mail: david.day@house.mo.gov
Internet site: www.StateRepDay.com

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