No Salary Reduction for Lawmakers

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.

Advertisements

54 responses to “No Salary Reduction for Lawmakers

  1. “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.”

    Given the numbers, I don’t think the state will have a choice. Lawmakers will be forced to raise taxes AND make deep cuts. If state employees don’t make some significant concessions, there will be layoffs.

  2. I’m not researching this, but based on conversations with friends… the legislatures in Nevada and New Hampshire both get daily stipends in the $50-100 range. And I think they’re each in session for 60 to 100 days. So many legislators get paid far less than in CT.

    Also though, other legislatures have unwritten rules that nonsense bills are not to be introduced. While that is arguably undemocratic, it has the benefit of keeping legislative staffing levels lower and focused on real issues, whatever they may be… healthcare, education, energy, taxes, etc.

    Instead, we focus on banning bake sales in schools and naming state cookies.

    I say knock off the nonsense and focus on the real issues.

    I gotta wonder how much time is wasted divvying up the $36 million Donovan / Rell / Williams annual slush funds discretionary funds.

  3. hey… GC… i meant to strikeout the “slush funds” comment…

    in the text that appears below, it was struck, but the strikeout doesn’t exist in the posted comment.

    did you know about that glitch?

  4. yup… just tried again… strikeout doesn’t post thru…

    now testing italics and bold

  5. those work… dunno why the “s” doesn’t post thru.

  6. From UConn Advocates
    http://www.uconnadvocates.org/general_assembly.html

    ANNUAL SALARY: $28,000 plus $5,500 expenses for senators and $4,500 for representatives, plus a $0.30 per-mile travel allowance.

    It does not say whether the mileage is form home daily or only once you get ‘to work’ and travel for assembly business.

    Looks like you need to be retired from a good job with a good pension or have a job on the side that you can leave for months.

  7. The actual dollar figure of how much would be saved by legislators taking a pay cut doesn’t seem to be the point here. I think the point is more one of fundamental fairness. Is it fair to ask state unions and private sector employees to accept less in the way of services and to pay more in taxes if legislators aren’t willing to take a hit themselves, no matter how small it may be? I think the answer to that is a resounding “no.” This is just yet another drawback of having one party control in the vast majority of state government. The Dems are drunk with power, and will obvously, based on the legislature’s actions (or lack thereof tonight) say or do anything to keep it.

  8. Clickety_Clak

    Caruso’s comment basically sums up the whole thing: “I will be the one who makes the decision as to how and who will close this budget gap….as long as it’s not me.” Everyone is correct in saying that a 5% cut in legislator pay won’t even come close to markedly impacting the deficit—but it does say that those making the cuts are willing to cut themselves. His statement referring to the “mindless banter of cut, cut, cut has to stop…” might as well be followed to it’s logical conclusion and get down to what Caruso really wants to say: “…and start talking about tax, tax, tax…” Since most in his district pay about 0.023% of the overall taxes of the state it’s a no-brainer (although they receive more state aid than anyone). So the SUPERMAJORITY Dems instead vote to cut a pittance and STILL find a way to SPEND money in a mitigation bill (talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul). And, to be fair, legislators get $0.58 per mile for their commute, pay $3 per prescription for their healthcare, and–wait for it–it’s a PART-TIME JOB. But Caruso has just spent the past four years arguing that they should be full time, so guess where his head is at. Perhaps he would be better served to actually apply for a job outside of state service and get a taste of just how bad it is out there.

  9. Just so I have this straight, and someone correct me if I’m wrong…

    Democrats have had two shots at making budget cuts with a $1 billion deficit in the offing for this year, and have only managed a couple hundred million. At the same time, they have preserved their taxpayer-funded political campaign fund, preserved union salary increases we can’t afford and refused to cut their own salaries by even a little while people in this state are losing jobs, businesses are closing and families are struggling.

    When we instituted the income tax in 1991 the deficit was $1 billion. It’s SIX billion next year and climbing. When your leaders can’t part with their pay or make any of the sacrifices they expect you to make, you’re going to get a tax increase.

  10. Perhaps he would be better served to actually apply for a job outside of state service and get a taste of just how bad it is out there.

    I’m sure a man of his skills is priced out of the market.

  11. Getting rid of the useless Commision on the Status of Women (what kind of name is that? Its in the form of a question!), Latino and Puerto Rican Affais, and African-Ameican Affairs total will save over $2 million dollars.

    Isn’t there plenty of other government waste? How many suggestions were implemented from the Governor’s suggestion box?

  12. CrankyYankee71

    Not only cut the legislators’ remuneration pay 5%, but cut the number of legislators by 1/3. Does anyone think we would see much of a difference (for the worse) if there were a third fewer politicians running around in the LOB?

  13. Not only cut the legislators’ remuneration pay 5%, but cut the number of legislators by 1/3. Does anyone think we would see much of a difference (for the worse) if there were a third fewer politicians running around in the LOB?

    I second that motion.

    So where are all the loudmouthed liberals that usually populate this site after a legislative session bragging about what their people did? Why don’t I see any of you in here talking about what an AWESOME job you did last night? Where’s David McClusky to lecture us? Or Tim O’Brien?

    I’d love to see one of them explain themselves.

  14. AndersonScooper

    Gotta love the Snivellin’ Thirty-Seven. The shit hits the fan, and they revert to meaningless grandstanding.

  15. Scoops–if you’re gonna be insulting, at least get it right: the House GOP currently has 36 members w/ DelGobbo’s departure. And if you want to talk about “meaningless” gestures, maybe we should talk about passing a mitigation bill that still leaves us nearly $1 billion in deficit?

  16. Gotta love the Snivellin’ Thirty-Seven. The shit hits the fan, and they revert to meaningless grandstanding.

    Why is it that when Republicans like Rell and Hamzy voluntarily give back some of their pay, it is seen as “insignificant” or “grandstanding”?

    Anyway, I hope that everyone who ridiculed Bush for his $40 million inaugural celebration in 2005 gives 25% more crap to Obama for his $50 million inaugural celebration this year. (Don’t hold your breath.)

  17. Gotta love the Snivellin’ Thirty-Seven. The shit hits the fan, and they revert to meaningless grandstanding.

    Wow! Well… thank God they didn’t just throw down an insult without defending their position. We can leave that to you I guess.

  18. I’m still waiting for someone to show up here with the balls to explain why when Connecticut residents are tightening their belts, legislators can’t suck in their fat guts.

  19. Anyway, I hope that everyone who ridiculed Bush for his $40 million inaugural celebration in 2005 gives 25% more crap to Obama for his $50 million inaugural celebration this year. (Don’t hold your breath.)

    Don’t worry. I am sure he’s saving taxpayers money by redecorating the White house with Ikea.

  20. Gotta love the Snivellin’ Thirty-Seven. The shit hits the fan, and they revert to meaningless grandstanding.

    When I was in the Army, officers always ate after enlisted personnel. If you’re going to be a leader, sometimes the smallest acts can be significant.

  21. CT legislators are among the lowest paid in the nation. How can you expect quality candidates for office with such low salaries? If anything, the salaries should be raised in these tough times so we can have a shot at attracting people who actually know a thing or two and aren’t just a bunch of hacks.

  22. Once in a while AS actually gets it correct. I say when he does at least he deserves some credit. Clearly it’s not important how fast the ship sinks just as long as Democrats are leading the charge to sink it.

    As the news only gets worse and valuable time is wasted, all we are getting from the incompetent dream team of Donovan, Merrill, Williams, and their compliant Democrat super majority, is the same old song blaming other’s for the results of their work and their failure of leadership.

    What else then can the few outsiders with any common sense do but offer ideas to this out of tune dream team? Ideas that certainly to them would appear to be meaningless grandstanding. Don’t any ideas no matter how big or small to those who don’t want to see the truth appear to be meaningless and grandstanding?

    I do have another idea for the Republicans however. I’d suggest they give Donovan and Williams some new guitar strings, get someone to help teach them how to correctly tune their guitars, and and then teach them a few new chords. That way they can learn how to at least sing a new song other than, It Ain’t Me Babe. Donovan may want to try to learn Taxman by the Beatles…….. It’s simple enough, I assume he knows how to play a D7th chord to get started. You gotta figure he’s at least humming the tune as visions of sugar plums dance in his head.

  23. CT legislators are among the lowest paid in the nation. How can you expect quality candidates for office with such low salaries? If anything, the salaries should be raised in these tough times so we can have a shot at attracting people who actually know a thing or two and aren’t just a bunch of hacks.

    Have you ever seen Congress? That’s what you get for higher pay. Same quality but a little fatter and more likely to screw a male page.

  24. If anything, the salaries should be raised in these tough times …

    Holy smokes….really?

    Some legislators propose a FIVE PERCENT cut in their own pay to show they’re serious about reducing state spending and only around 30+ of them vote for it?

    Five percent is more symbolic than actually having a big impact on the state budget but to me, shows they are willing to share in the pain. So the ‘hacks’ are obviously those who claim that ‘everything is on the table’ but apparently that table of the kiddie-size, Fisher-Price variety.

    It’s all on the table right? But you won’t even take a 5 percent cut in your own salaries?

    In the stories I’ve read, All we’ve seen is these guys shuffling money around, not really doing anything to shrink government.

    It is a very small step to realizing the tax hikes that are actually ‘on the table’ will crowd out everything else in short order.

    So please, let’s hear from those who feel we need more taxes in CT. Obama’s gonna cut my federal taxes (since I make under $250k), so I guess the state ‘hacks’ can take up the slack.

  25. AndersonScooper

    Let’s see. The CT GOP has us talking about this huge cut in Legislator’s part time salary that will cut our budget deficit by what, a whopping $300,000?

    Thank goodness for an opposition party. What on Earth would Dems do without Cafero and McKinney’s headline-grabbing posturing?

    It’s pathetic.

    Instead let’s have a discussion about upping the gas tax on a temporary basis, tolls at the entrance to our State, enacting a gazillionaire’s bracket, and doing something to cure the ills of township government.

  26. Instead let’s have a discussion about upping the gas tax on a temporary basis, tolls at the entrance to our State, enacting a gazillionaire’s bracket, and doing something to cure the ills of township government.

    Temporary? Yea, right. And you’ll probably make more with tolls at the exits to our State to get the last drop out of the “gazillionaire’s” as they leave for friendlier climes.

  27. Instead let’s have a discussion about upping the gas tax on a temporary basis, tolls at the entrance to our State, enacting a gazillionaire’s bracket, and doing something to cure the ills of township government.

    Marx speaks from the grave! This is the problem with the all-controlling Democrats: ideaology always trumps common sense. The facts show that CT is in an absolute tailspin, and you guys just want to stay the course. You will not even consider a reduction in the scope and size of government, a government which you built, by the way. Quality of life tanking, welfare class burgeoning, businesses (read: tax revenues) leaving – and you want to increase the burden on taxpayers and businesses and ram through your (entirely unproven) regionalization plan. Genius. Pure genius.

  28. What a stupid comment or accusation, its not about the privileged or the bourgeois or the proletarians, its about the survival of our State! Lets look at it ALL!

    Marx speaks from the grave! This is the problem with the all-controlling Democrats: ideaology always trumps common sense. The facts show that CT is in an absolute tailspin, and you guys just want to stay the course. You will not even consider a reduction in the scope and size of government, a government which you built, by the way.

    Ideology does not trump all! Survival is not about the well connected in the business world. Its about the all connected in the human world. We lift each other up and we all prosper. You ‘whatevers’ don’t get that and thats why we have grief.

  29. “Let’s see. The CT GOP has us talking about this huge cut in Legislator’s part time salary that will cut our budget deficit by what, a whopping $300,000?”

    Why not cut it to zero??????? And require term limits of let’s say 6 years That way we get these lifetime bums out of there who could not like most other Democrats in the General Assembly hold a meaningful real job for 10 minutes in the public sector. Let’s make “public service” real public service.

    Anyone who thinks these guys will spend tens of thousands of now taxpayer money and fight to keep these jobs forever because of the pay alone is a bigger fool than those of us who vote these guys in forever.

    While we are at it, how about our members of Congress voting to take a pay cut???? God knows if they were paid for the job they actually acomplish they would be paying us, not us them.

  30. Ichabod Crane

    Let’s see. The CT GOP has us talking about this huge cut in Legislator’s part time salary that will cut our budget deficit by what, a whopping $300,000?

    Well, why not cut Chris Caruso’s salary? He lives with mommy, he doesn’t need a salary.

  31. HH said “I’m still waiting for someone to show up here with the balls to explain why when Connecticut residents are tightening their belts, legislators can’t suck in their fat guts.”

    tough talk from the cartoon themed anonymous blogger.

    I say why pay them anything right? We should just cut the salaries 100%, why stop at 5% or 10%. That way we can have a legislature of nothing but attorneys! Everyone loves attorneys right? Screw having a small business owner or a teacher or a construction worker or a cop serve. I want nothing but attorneys!

    I want Dan Dibecella or Larry Cafero to have the balls to come on here and explain why we shouldn’t completely abolish the pay for legislators.

  32. Well, why not cut Chris Caruso’s salary? He lives with mommy, he doesn’t need a salary.

    Hmmm have we really ever seen them both together….

  33. Unicameral legislature. Get rid of the House. Big savings. Then reduce the opportunity of spending by establishing a state budget referendum. If they can’t cut, let the people do it. Establish term limits. End all taxes but consumption taxes. Put a cap on spending ( A REAL ONE), then do away with the income tax. Join the revolution: http://donpesci.blogspot.com/2009/01/bring-on-revolution-no-more-fn-taxes.html. Who’s in?

  34. I’m with Don. No more state services. No more taxes. It’ll be sweet, we could model ourselves after the many nation that currently exist that enjoy that model of low taxes and no investment in the citizens such as the many nations of eastern Africa.

    Don, we’d still have enough money to pay for cops though right? Cuz I have a feeling we’d be needing a lot of cops once we empty out the jails, shut off unemployment and other socil services and safety nets, and underfund education. Just promise me we’ll have cops, or at least free bullets.

  35. Typical liberal wants free bullets. You want bullets, get a job.

  36. I say why pay them anything right? We should just cut the salaries 100%, why stop at 5% or 10%. That way we can have a legislature of nothing but attorneys! Everyone loves attorneys right? Screw having a small business owner or a teacher or a construction worker or a cop serve. I want nothing but attorneys!

    I could not agree more………..Cut the pay 100%, and establish term limits…… Does 6 years sound OK to you?? Make “public service”…. public service. And you think all we will have is attorneys??????? Yah right…….. Here’s a hint for reals….. No money, no attorneys………. It’s a simple fact of life……….in the real world anyway.
    It may even force guys like Chris Caruso to look for gainful employment although at his level of ability I suspect none other than the General Assembly meets his limited ability.

  37. Everyone hates attorneys, until they need one.

  38. Al you’re right. Chris Caruso should leave and find gainful employment in the private sector just like Simmons did, and Kathy Cook, and Rowland, and Cappiello, and Delgobbo, and….oh wait. They’re all Republicans making close to six figures if not more sucking off the govt teet. hmmmm. But yeah, staying consistent with the outrage, it really is Caruso’s 28,000 that is outrageous. And attorney’s become legislators for the extra 28 grand not because they’re independently wealthy and can afford to not work as much as the average Joe while in session. Got it. Thanks.

  39. AndersonScooper says:

    “Instead let’s have a discussion about upping the gas tax on a temporary basis, tolls at the entrance to our State, enacting a gazillionaire’s bracket, and doing something to cure the ills of township government. ”

    Since when is a tax temporary? Just like the tripling of professional license fees to avoid an income tax? And who could forget the temporary conveyance tax?

    Why just tolls at the entrance? Just want to nail those of us who live near the border? But if you live in Hamden and work in Fairfield, you never pay a toll. Why not do it fairer — a toll on all our roads ala Garden State? I have a feeling that would have far less support from, um, all the interior legislators.

    And there aren’t enough gazillionaire’s to bail us out — nor millionaire’s. for that matter.

    But typical leftie platform — collect from someone else besides me.

  40. The legislator salary cut is obviously purely symbolic. Both parties seem to be sort of attacking things on the margins, without taking on the meat of the problem.

    Instead let’s have a discussion about upping the gas tax on a temporary basis, tolls at the entrance to our State, enacting a gazillionaire’s bracket, and doing something to cure the ills of township government.

    I always thought liberals didn’t care for gas taxes much because they are regressive. Why just tolls at the entrance to the state? If someone drives from Rye, NY to Stamford, they’d have to pay a toll, but if someone drove from Stamford to Foxwoods, there’d be no toll. Also, 95 at the border has a lot of exits on both sides of the border. On 95 in Greenwich, Exit 2 is basically right on the border. Exit 3 is not that far away. There are exits right over the other side in Port Chester. On 84, there are some exits near the border. They are a little further apart, but there’s not much up there, so getting off the highway for a few miles wouldn’t slow you down that much. A gazillionaire’s tax is not going to catch the people working in NY state, and what are the “ills of township government”?

    Why not cut it to zero??????? And require term limits of let’s say 6 years That way we get these lifetime bums out of there who could not like most other Democrats in the General Assembly hold a meaningful real job for 10 minutes in the public sector. Let’s make “public service” real public service.

    Given the choice of legislators that could afford to work for free or legislators that really need the money, I think I’d rather have the latter category. Look at the various people in government for whom their salary is inconsequential. Teddy Kennedy. John Corzine. Frank Lautenberg. Nancy Pelosi. Arnold. John Kerry. John Edwards. McCain.

  41. Why just tolls at the entrance? Just want to nail those of us who live near the border? But if you live in Hamden and work in Fairfield, you never pay a toll. Why not do it fairer — a toll on all our roads ala Garden State? I have a feeling that would have far less support from, um, all the interior legislators.

    I imagine a system set up that way would not be to nail people who live near the border, but to recoup the various income and sales taxes of people who go out of state and pay taxes in other jurisdictions.

    Heck, you could even set up the tolls so you get a free pass if you work in the state, or you could let stores “validate” when you spend over $X.

  42. Heck, you could even set up the tolls so you get a free pass if you work in the state, or you could let stores “validate” when you spend over $X.

    Correct.

    There’s a load of things we could implement so as to make new tolls a positive thing for CT citizens while reaping some much needed cash from those that simply drive through and tie up the left lane.

    “matt w” eh?

    Sure right.

    So who are you really?

  43. tough talk from the cartoon themed anonymous blogger.

    More jabber jabber.

    I’m with Don. No more state services. No more taxes. It’ll be sweet, we could model ourselves after the many nation that currently exist that enjoy that model of low taxes and no investment in the citizens such as the many nations of eastern Africa.

    And more useless blather.

    You seem wounded. But of course, you still haven’t defended the Democratic position, you’re just talking over the issue.

  44. “But yeah, staying consistent with the outrage, it really is Caruso’s 28,000 that is outrageous. And attorney’s become legislators for the extra 28 grand not because they’re independently wealthy and can afford to not work as much as the average Joe while in session. Got it. Thanks

    for reals,

    I wish you really did get it but obviously you do not. The problem isn’t how much these guys do or do not get paid the problem is what they do while “on the job”. You may think a $6 billion dollar and rapidly growing state deficit problem is no big deal, I happen to think it is a very big deal

    You like so many in the General Assembly may be willing to point your finger at someone else (in this case I am sure pointing it at anyone who calls themselves a Republican past or present is a convenient diversion from the truth, and is somehow comforting to you) to place the blame for the role they played in creating the mess this state is in. I am not.

    If you are going to get anything, get this: Anyone, Democrat or Republican wasting our time, and now our vanishing tax dollars pointing fingers elsewhere like Donovan, Merrill, Williams, and Caruso are currently doing isn’t going to fix anything.
    They played a key role in squandering our tax dollars on spending we could not afford to spend. Now they need to play a key role in cutting that spending into something the growing unemployed members of the public sector can afford to pay. The same public sector taxpayers who still need to buy food,heat their homes, and in many cases look for work.
    When you and they get that into your heads, then you and they will have finally gotten something. I won’t hold my breath.

  45. Al you are correct, I wasn’t speaking about the big picture. I was commenting on the selective outrage of those who don’t get, or show any outrage toward the fact that for the past 8 years the state of CT and the nation as a whole has had nothing but Republican Chief Executive Officers. You know, leaders, that are steering the ship, or at least supposed to be, and look where that has gotten us. If you really want to view govt as a business model, how about our CEO’s, how have they been doing?

    Headless, my comment to Don had nothing to do with the Democratic issue. I’m curious as to what countries other than 3rd world nations, do not invest in their citizens, have extremely low taxes, and still play a role in the world. Name one.

    Republicans had 40 years to sit home having wet dreams about Ayn Rand novels, then finally got into total power controlling all three branches of government and it was an utter failure. Huge spending (more so than any Democratic admin.), botched wars, and failed policies at home (Katrina).

    Now that your all back out of power, because you failed, you can all go back to your Atlas Shrugged fantasies (such as Don’s revolution) until the next time the public isn’t terrified about giving you guys the keys to government. Might be a while. I won’t hold my breath.

  46. ForReals

    Get out of the bubble. Visit South Carolina, whose governor, Mark Sanford, is getting rid of PROPERTY TAXES, converting all revenue streams to consumption taxes. Other states larger than CT have unicameral legislatures. Still others have term limits. As for bullets – man, welcome to the revolution; you can’t have a revolution without bullets and guillotines. Or if that’s too severe for you, maybe term limits. Try to develop more of a “can do” attitude, essential in all revolutionists. Our motto: “People change you’ll really like.”

  47. Falstaff: “First thing we do is shoot the lawyers.”

  48. Ronnie Reagan: “Nothing is more permanent than a temporary tax.”

  49. Headless,

    How are the red caps coming along?

  50. Other states larger than CT have unicameral legislatures. Still others have term limits.

    The only state with a unicameral legislature is Nebraska. Guam and the US Virgin Islands also have unicameral legislatures, and DC just has a city council. Nebraska is quite a bit larger in area than Connecticut, but it has about half the population. Connecticut dwarfs Guam, US VI and DC in terms of area and population.

  51. Let’s see here- during an economic downturn, when people put in gardens to grow their own food, and when the few remaining farmers & market growers were just starting to get rolling with the buy local movement, the brainiacs at the Capital want to shut down the Ag Station? Where you get pest control advice & soil testing services? I don’t get it.

    Surely something else could be axed before undermining food self sufficiency & local resources.

  52. At least for reals only seems to blog late at night.

    Probably not wasting our tax dollars sharing his/her employer’s (Dem caucus) opinions.

  53. Soggy Bottom Boy

    tough talk from the cartoon themed anonymous blogger.

    Wow, pretty lame remark in defense what would be a tough position to defend. How tough we don’t know, no one has really tried.

    But it’s obvious any legitmate critcism of Democrat legislators really gets under your skin.

    Why praytell?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s