Lawmaker pay should be tied to median income

(You can vote on this issue on right hand side of this webpage)Watchdog
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Lawmakers should be paid a common man’s salary based on the median Oregon salary — this way they can say they get paid what most Oregonians get paid. This is our response to Oregonian’s headline article today about lawmakers using campaign funds to pay basic expenses. What do you expect when Oregon lawmakers only make $1,800 a month? Low salary disadvantages rural lawmakers (over urban) because they have to travel great distances.

Taxpayers want a citizen legislature, and you can’t get “normal” citizens to run for office if they can’t afford it. When you are involved in candidate recruitment you see it all the time that quality people look at the time and money costs and see it as impossible. Currently, the system favors the higher income, lawyers and government employees. Term limits is the other half of the citizen legislature model. Term limits also keeps lawmakers from making a career out of the same seat.

If I thought by paying lawmakers less or nothing would make it easier to for them to handle Oregon’s biennial budget of around $60 billion — I would do it in an instant. Instead, I believe it takes more than a part-time person to handle this budget beast.

By tying lawmaker salaries to Oregonian’s wages, it means if our income goes down — so does theirs. They only get a raise if we do.

Do you agree? PLEASE VOTE on this on our Catalyst poll (on the right hand column of this webpage).  The Taxpayer Association welcomes your feedback and input.

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Posted by at 07:56 | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • WashCoIndependent

    You say …”Currently, the system favors the higher income, lawyers and government employees. ”

    I’d say of those three, two and a half are true.

    Higher income: Definitely.

    Government employees: usually, if their employers allow them to get paid time off, or take vacation or even unpaid time off and keep their jobs.

    Lawyers though? Come on. How about the public defender, or the small town generalist who is making a decent living as long as they show up at the office everyday. Now, I would say lawyers in tall steel buildings where their influence comes in handy to the big firm clients. Fagan, Lindsay to name a couple do fall into that catagory your’e talking about. But attorneys like Dennis Richardson who have worked very hard to have a successful career, so they can work part time and take the financial hit later in their careers?. They are rare and bring great value to a body consisting of people who make laws, but have no clue as to how they effect the average citizen.

    And I totally agree that we need to pay our legislators more money so they don’t have to use campaign funds for their expenses, or go on the payroll as the executive director of some “non profit” organization funded by conservative millionaire developers from Washington State, in order to live the life they’d like to become accustomed to. And the median income is a good place to start the discussion.

  • Bob Clark

    I don’t think you can take self interest out of those who govern no matter what their level of government paid compensation. The governing will still seek to increase their financial enrichment through the use of government power. Then there is Bill Buckley who once remarked: I’d sooner be governed by one hundred people randomly selected out of a phone book than through the popular electoral process (or something to this effect.)
    I think the first step towards better governance is tighter constitutional limits on the power of Oregon state government to tax, borrow and regulate. With tighter limits, the governing can then be free to adjust their compensation as they see fit subject to a degree of citizen approval.

    • fare is fair

      Fiscal matters should be voted on by fiscal main-streamers only

      • 3H

        What does that mean? Who are fiscal main-streamers?

        • fare is fair

          Taxpayers who derive an income the old fashioned way, they earn it.

          Those paying nothing in taxes are advised to budget their draw from the public trough more conservatively – yet if they can rise off their duff to vote for $um-thing…take further steps toward becoming a fiscal mainstream contributor and less a siphon-er.

  • John A, Ward

    It is nice there is still somebody as naive as I. Politicians make their money from ‘insider trading’ (since they know which items are going to be funded, they can invest ‘wisely’). If you want to loose all the current crooks in the system, force all lawmakers and staff to release all their investments and any new investments into a ‘blind trust’. Then what they are paid might make a difference.

    John W.

  • Ruthy

    I believe a living wage for our tireless lawmakers should be 75K. Teachers make that much or more if you include benefits. Should not lawmakers make the same, or even more? Please, pay them a living wage so they won’t die.

    • Karlton Spankler

      Ruthy Baby, seems like only yesterday that you were discovered floating in the Bushwood Country Club swimming pool!

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