No raises for us, legislative leaders declare
The speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates and president of the state Senate released a joint statement today saying, in no uncertain terms, that they will reject a proposed legislative pay raise.
The General Assembly Compensation Commission this morning recommended a small increase for the 188 lawmakers, to be applied several years from now. If the state's unemployment rate drops to 5 percent or below (it's now around 7 percent) in 2013, lawmakers would get a one-time $2,000 bump, said salary commission Chairman Sean W. Glynn.
But Speaker Michael E. Busch and President Thomas V. Mike Miller said it's inappropriate to talk about raises -- even ones that would come in the future -- when state workers have frozen or reduced salaries.
"Now is not the time to accept pay raises for legislators," Busch said in the statement. "We respectfully decline the salary recommendation of the Commission."
Miller called the proposed pay increase "inappropriate."
Added to a previous four-year salary freeze, the leaders' decision means lawmaker salaries will likely remain frozen at $43,500 until 2014. Busch and Miller make $56,500, The salary commission meets every four years to review lawmakers' pay.
By state law, the nine-member independent commission's recommendation must be introduced as a bill during the legislative session. Lawmakers can either accept it or reduce the amount. The leaders' joint statement indicates it will most likely be rejected outright.
In a Baltimore Sun story published Sunday, Miller and Busch indicated they might be open to a salary increase that comes in the future and is tied to an economic indicator. Turns out, they aren't.
Governor Martin O'Malley, who makes $150,000 per year, also shot down an effort to increase his pay.