State Lawmakers Approve Massive Pay Raise for Themselves

( – Millions of Americans are struggling to cope with inflation, which continues to drive up the price of essentials. That isn’t a problem for some of our elected representatives, though. They’re lucky enough that they have a significant influence on how big a raise they get — and they’re not shy about using it.

Last year, Kansas state legislators set up a bipartisan pay commission to look into their compensation. When the commission was established, the legislature agreed that, unless both chambers of the legislature passed resolutions against it by February 7, its proposed pay deal would be automatically implemented. The commission has now come back with a proposal, and the deadline for voting it down has passed, so Kansas lawmakers will be getting the raise the commission recommended.

It’s no surprise the legislature didn’t vote against the pay deal — because it blows inflation out of the water. Right now, the basic compensation for members of the Kansas House and Senate is $30,000 a year. The commission recommended increasing that by 93% to $58,000, almost double the current rate. The House Speaker and Senate President won’t be complaining either, with their pay set to rise from $44,000 to $85,000.

The Kansas legislature has insulated itself from accusations that it voted itself a big raise; the worst it can be accused of is that it didn’t actively vote against it. However, it did set up the commission, define its purpose, and agree to the process of how it would operate. Then, when the commission came back with its inflation-busting recommendations, legislators just sat back and let it go through. In early February, some state senators tried to force a debate but failed.

Defenders of the raise say it will make the legislature more diverse. Democrat Senator Cindy Holscher said, “You might get a few more females… a few more minorities… younger people.” Some Kansan taxpayers might be happy about that. Many more would probably prefer to pay less tax.

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