Western Massachusetts senators in line for more power and pay

The pay raise package cost taxpayers $18 million each year

BOSTON (WWLP) – Senate President Stanley Rosenberg handed out key leadership and committee positions Wednesday; roles that come with added power and money. Rosenberg added an extra leadership position that comes with a $35,000 stipend.

Every western Massachusetts senator will be in line for a pay raise in the form of stipends.

“There’s only forty members in the Senate as compared to 160 in the House and that requires many of us to do double, sometimes triple duty. Serve as chairs of two committees,” said state Senator James Welch (D) West Springfield.

The move comes less than two weeks after state lawmakers approved significant pay raises for themselves, costing taxpayers $18-million.

Top-ranking lawmakers will benefit the most. Committee chairs will take home an extra $15,000 on top of their base pay of $62,000.

House lawmakers are limited to one stipend, but over in the Senate, members can collect up to three bonuses. One Berkshire County state lawmaker told 22News he believes it’s excessive.

“I think it’s too much money, to be honest with you. I think the House was smart to limit it to one stipend position. The Senate had a different course,” said state Representative “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox).

House Speaker Robert DeLeo will likely announce key leadership and committee positions on Thursday.