State lawmakers to get big pay raises, despite heavy criticism

Baker criticized the Legislature for failing to protect people's hard earned tax dollars

BOSTON (WWLP) – It’s official. State lawmakers gave themselves big salary increases. It took a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override Governor Charlie Baker’s veto.

Governor Baker said both he and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will reject the extra pay, and he criticized the Legislature for failing to protect people’s hard earned tax dollars.

Assistant Minority Leader state Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) said, “I felt much the way Charlie Baker did. I felt we really needed to think about it. We need to think about all the things that we weren’t able to fund this year and where that money could’ve gone.”

The raises will cost taxpayers $18-million each year. Top-ranking lawmakers would see the biggest raises in the form of stipends.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg will see their salaries go up by $45,000. Rosenberg defended the pay hikes after Thursday’s vote. He said, “These stipends have been frozen for 35 years and the cost of living has gone up and it was time to adjust it.”

All lawmakers will see more money in their paychecks. The new law eliminates the per diem system. Instead of getting money for each day they go to the State House, Western Massachusetts lawmakers will receive $20,000 a year for their office and travel expenses.

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