A special panel agreed this morning to ask voters whether to give state lawmakers an $11,000-a-year raise. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
Under the Arizona Constitution, members of the Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers debate every two years what they think legislators should be paid. They decided on a three-to-two vote it should be $35,000 a year. However, that’s just a recommendation, with voters getting the last word in November. And the last one voters approved was 16 years ago when they set the figure at $24,000. That $35,000 figure computes out as to what would come to with inflation. Commission member Joe Kanefield said the hike is justified.
“No one is getting rich serving as a legislator here in Arizona. And that is an absolute fact. So the people that do serve make great sacrifice, both personally, professionally and financially to serve here,” he said.
But, former lawmaker Karen Johnson, also a member of the commission, calling in from Snowflake, said this is not a good time to ask voters to hike salaries.
“I don’t know how it is down there in Maricopa County, but up here in Navajo County, it is extremely depressed economically,” she said.
Commission member Brian Kaufman also said he could not in good faith propose an $11,000 raise, saying something in the order of $4,000 to $6,000 would be more appropriate.