There are several good reasons for giving a pay raise to Arizona legislators. But there is one huge reason not to: the plunging national and statewide economy.
Legislators make $24,000 per year – the same salary they’ve received since 1999. Proposition 300 would increase that to $30,000.
Let’s be honest: The cost of legislators’ salaries is minuscule. The total amount paid to lawmakers for a year wouldn’t run state prisons for a day.
Legislators’ pay makes up about 0.022 percent of the $10 billion state budget. Increasing it to $30,000 would make it about 0.027 percent. Big deal.
They deserve it. They work hard. They have to spend a lot of time in Phoenix. And increasing the pay might increase the pool of people willing to run for the job.
But there is a lot of symbolism at work. State employees are unlikely to get a raise next year as the state struggles with a deficit. Every spare dime left in ancillary funds or couch cushions will be grabbed.
This is not the time for legislators to get a raise. The Tucson Citizen urges a “no” vote on Prop. 300.