BOSTON (WWLP) – On Beacon Hill, it can take months, years or even decades for a bill to become law. This week, however, the state Legislature acted quickly, sending Governor Charlie Baker a bill to increase the salaries of lawmakers and other public officials.
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, told 22News, “The pay wasn’t good enough, but also the hours were extremely long, and so you also have to be able to justify that level of investment.”
The pay raises could cost taxpayers an extra $18-million each year. The bill cleared the Senate by a 31 to 9 vote.
In western Massachusetts, four Democratic Senators voted for the pay increases:
- Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, (D) Amherst
- Eric Lesser, (D) Longmeadow
- Adam Hinds, (D) Pittsfield
- James Welch, (D) West Springfield
Two voted against the pay raises:
- Anne Gobi, (D) Spencer
- Don Humason, (R) Westfield
(Will you still be accepting the pay, if offered, or will you be donating it? I guess, what’s your decision there?) State Senator Humason replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll wait to make that decision after I see what happens.”
This was the first major vote for newly-elected state lawmakers, like Pittsfield State Senator Hinds; “Look, you know, this is less about me and it’s more about the fact that these positions, there hasn’t been compensation in some time.”
Both the House and Senate appear to have enough votes to override a potential governor’s veto. Under the bill, the state’s six constitutional officers and judges would also be in line for pay raises.
Governor Baker released the following statement on pay raise bill:
Lt. Governor Polito and I are deeply thankful for our collaborative relationship with the Legislature that has produced positive results for the people of Massachusetts – and while we disagree on the issue of compensation, we are optimistic that we will continue to work together to carry out the responsibilities entrusted to us by the people of Massachusetts. One of those core responsibilities is the responsible custody of the people’s tax dollars, and we will veto this legislation because given the current fiscal outlook for the state, now is not the time to expend additional funds on elected officials’ salaries.