GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts lawmakers approved a 40 percent increase in pay for themselves and other public officials last month, saying higher salaries help attract and retain top government leaders.
Governor Charlie Baker called the bill “irresponsible” and vetoed it.
“I’m on social security and I was supposed to get a raise and but due to medical care going up, I did not get a raise,” said CJ Moore of Vernon, Vermont.
In Massachusetts, state lawmakers can decide if they get pay raises, but that’s not the case everywhere. Nineteen states use a commission to determine the state legislator’s salaries. In Arizona and Nebraska, voters must first approve any legislative pay raise.
“We should be able to vote on it or some other method to be put in place, rather than just them to vote on their own salary,” said Steve Koziol of Greenfield. “Even if they’re doing a wonderful job, there should be a check on that.”
“There should be a vote, our voices should be heard, especially since these people are making the laws,” said Chris Storozuk of Westfield.
In California and Washington, commissions can increase or decrease state leaders’ salaries without voter approval. Other states tie legislative salaries to those of other state employees.
Massachusetts lawmakers make about $60,000 dollars each year. The proposed pay raise would cost the state up to $18 million each year.