Western Massachusetts voters divided over lawmaker pay raise

Raises to cost taxpayers an additional $18M per year

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Lawmakers overturned a veto by Governor Charlie Baker, to give themselves more money.

It took a two-thirds majority in both chambers, but the Democratic-controlled Legislature overturned the Republican governor’s veto of the controversial pay raise package. 22News spoke to local residents about what they think about the pay increase.

“How about if we went to our bosses and said: ‘I think we’re all going to vote and we’re all going to get 40% raises.’ Do you think that is fair? It’s not,” Jossy Navarro of Chicopee said.

It did not take long for the governor to respond to the override Thursday. He called it “fiscally irresponsible,” and said lawmakers failed to protect the public’s tax dollars.

Some voters were upset about the increase.

“I think it’s a little too much of a pay raise, considering what is going on now in our government in this country, and the people who are going without,” Carol Deslaurier of West Springfield said.

But others think that it was the right time for lawmakers to take the increase.

“It’s justifiable in my opinion. They are way overdue. I have followed it from afar, and it seems like these public servants are well worthy of a pay increase, just like the rest of us,” Tone Flavin of Longmeadow said.

The raises will cost taxpayers an additional $18 million per year. Some voters told 22News that it is money they would rather see go toward infrastructure improvements and community projects.

“I would like to see them fix these roads around here. We mess up our car almost every night. Definitely schools; it’s always good to give back to the community and have community programs,” Siera Fraser said.

Several public officials, including Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Attorney General Maura Healey, and State Treasurer Deb Goldberg will not be accepting the extra money.