CTNJ reports that the legislature rejected a GOP amendment that would have cut their salaries by 5% over the next two years.
Given how low salaries are for the General Assembly (rank-and-file House members make $28,000, plus a stipend) this would be a token gesture at best.
Well, maybe we need a stunt every once in a while, I don’t know.
“This Mindless Banter of Cut, Cut, Cut”
Capitol Watch, reporting on the same story, captures this fascinating exchange:
“This mindless banter of cut, cut, cut has to stop,” Caruso said, adding that lawmakers must now talk about raising taxes. “We are not the legislators in Washington. Our constituents confuse us with the people making $135,000 in Washington. Anyone who wishes in this chamber to give back five percent or 10 percent of your salary can do that voluntarily.”
After Caruso’s speech, Hamzy stood up on the House floor and said he would send a memo to Comptroller Nancy Wyman to ask her to cut his salary voluntarily by five percent.
“Tell me one sacrifice that any of us has made,” Hamzy asked his colleagues. “There hasn’t been one.”
The deficit could reach $6 billion over the next two years, and is already about $1 billion for this fiscal year. The question is, can that gap be closed without sacrificing services that people need? So far, we’ve heard about relatively small stuff, like getting rid of the Agricultural Experiment Station or putting off raises for some state employees.
What will it take to do it? Gov. Rell wants to hold the line on taxes, and not fire state employees. Here’s a snapshot of the current budget.
Either the state will raise taxes, or the cuts will be so deep that the loss will reverberate throughout the entire state. Not a great choice either way.