Legislator Pay Raises: Wrong on so Many Levels

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Last week, Montanans found out that our Montana Legislators have drafted a bill to give themselves a 69% pay raise. I am just going to say what everyone is thinking…what planet are they living on? In what world do legislators think the taxpayers of Montana will support a 69% pay raise for them.

Legislators work only 90 days every 2 years, and have full retirement and healthcare benefits from the state. Their pay would be raised to $270.46/day. This includes their $114 per diem, which legislators always fail to mention they receive when they whine about pay. They would go from making $25.80 an hour to $33.75 an hour.

Legislators make $18,500 in 4 months, and then they have full time jobs. But, now they want to make $24,300.

How many Montanans only make $18,500 or even $24,300 in an entire year, not just 4 months? And, how many of those Montanans will get a 69% pay increase? Not a single one.

This is why Montanans feel they are not being listened to. Our elected leaders are not representing us. Actions like this make people lose faith in their government. Decisions like this make voters angry and they damn well should be.

In a year where legislators passed an unbalanced budget, that sent the state into a special session, they think they deserve a 69% pay raise.

In a year where legislators cut millions from the Department of Public Health and Human Services to finally balanced their budget—hurting seniors, children, and families—they think they should make $33/hr.

In a year where Montanans have seen their healthcare costs increase and their wages remain flat, legislators want to make $270.46 a day.

This is how out of touch the current Legislature is with the people of Montana. They might as well tell the Montanans struggling to make a living on $18,500 a year that they do not care about their lives. No amount of rationalizing a 69% pay increase will ever make sense to voters, and it shouldn’t.

This is an easy issue for Democrats to campaign on. The Republican-majority is trying to rip off the taxpayers and cut more services Montanans need. This is fiscally irresponsible and we need to focus on balancing the state budget. Democrats are in the minority, so If you elect more Democrats, they will stop this insane 69% pay increase from being passed.

It’s easy Democrats, now we just need you to have the courage to do what’s right.

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