How should pay raises for state lawmakers, public officials be decided?

Bill proposes a 40 percent pay raise

Photo: Thinkstock

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  It’s your tax money, but state lawmakers are voting to give it to themselves. And not just lawmakers, but judges and constitutional officers too.

Approved by the House and Senate, the pay raise was vetoed by the governor. But it won’t be his decision that’s final since lawmakers can override his veto and make the pay raises law with a two-thirds majority.

A 2014 report recommended the salary increases. Raising the state’s payroll has been something that Governor Baker has not supported in the past. Last year, he offered to give buyout to some state employees to save the state $25 million and close a budget gap.

Republican state lawmakers tried to block pay raise bill

“If I were given the opportunity to give myself a raise, I’d give myself a raise,” Laurie Rodowicz said. “And if someone vetoed it and I had the opportunity to override it, I’d override it. I mean, it’s just silly.”

The raises are about a 40 percent increase. The average annual raise for a private sector worker is between 2 and 3 percent. “I would think an adjusted income sort of thing, the way that things are more expensive now, a little bit of a raise,” Southwick resident Kimberly Gorman said “but 40 percent seems just way too much.”

West Springfield resident Mewe Okoh was a bit more receptive to the idea. “I want to make a livable wage in my state right now, I’m sure they are already living a livable wage. So if they can give me a competitive wage then I would be happy with that.”

Others told 22News they think voters should be the ones to decide on raises for public elected officials.