Bill Seeks To Boost Lawmakers' Pay

By: Phil White (KAKE)--
By: Phil White (KAKE)--

WICHITA, Kan. -- A bill before a Kansas House committee could hand state lawmakers a pay raise.

The bill would more than double what legislators are paid during the 90-day legislative session. However, it seeks to reduce the retirement package available to lawmakers.

In Kansas, serving as a lawmaker is a part-time job, but the bill would increase the money legislators receive each year to about $25,000.

"I just think they'd better look at the little people first," said Joann Koch of Wichita. "They make enough money as far as I'm concerned."

House Bill 2740 seeks to increase lawmakers' daily pay to 80 percent of the average daily pay of Kansas teachers. That translates into about a $10,000 per year raise for legislators.

"I think there are people more deserving than politicians and stuff to get raises," said Wichita resident Jeremiah Shamblin. "For instance, police, fire, medical."

Kansas Organization of State Employees, a union representing some state employees, said Thursday that legislators have not had a raise since 2009 because state worker's haven't either.

"If legislators think it is difficult to make a living without a pay increase in five years for their part-time job, they should imagine how difficult it is for those people who work state jobs for their full-time job," said Rebecca Proctor, KOSE Interim Executive Director.

Right now, legislators in non-leadership roles make $88.66 per day during the 90-day legislative session. HB 2740 would increase that to $204 per day.

Koch does not think a raise for lawmakers should be on the table when there are concerns over cuts.

"There's a few things I would like to show them what to cut," she said. "They wouldn't like it, but I could show them."

Lawmakers this week also discussed a bill that would increase pay for state employees, but Proctor said it is unlikely any employee will see a $10,000 a year increase.

Posted by Greg Palmer

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