Why a legislative pay cut is a bad idea

This just in:

HOUSE & SENATE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS ANNOUNCE PROPOSAL TO CUT PAY OF LEGISLATORS AND CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS; PAY CUT PROPOSAL SHOULD BE DISCUSSED AT BUDGET MEETINGS STARTING TOMORROW

(St. Paul) – Responding to the likelihood that Minnesota budget deficit will be close to $7 billion, Republican members of the Minnesota House and Senate announced a legislative proposal today to cut the pay of legislators and constitutional officers by 5 percent.

If enacted into law, the base pay for legislators would drop from their current amounts to $29,583 per-year, with the estimated total savings per biennium of $676,441.20. [Please see the attached table for salary information for legislators and constitutional officers.]

My opinion: Seems like a no-brainer. In times of economic strife, politicians take a pay cut.

It’s a bad idea because politics is already run by people who can afford to be in politics. State and federal legislatures and even small-town councils are skewed toward the relatively well off. The voices of the poor are mostly silent.

Cutting pay for senators and reps would mean the Legislature would be dominated even more by the wealthy and their friends and their interests.

It’s also less than a million dollars (676,000), with a projected deficit 10,000 times that — 6-7 billion.

It’s a gimmick. Leave pay for legislators alone.

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