A pay raise could still be on tap for Missouri’s legislators and state elected officials.
A citizens’ commission on elected official pay proposed a 17-percent increase for most statewide office holders and an 11-percent increase for the Lieutenant Governor and lawmakers. The state House voted to reject that raise 133-15.
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) urged the House to reject it on the grounds that elected officials shouldn’t get a raise while state employees’ pay is relatively low.
“Our state employees in this are currently ranked 50th out of 50 for state employee pay. At the very same time, state legislators in our state enjoy the 16th highest salary of state legislators anywhere in the country,” said Barnes.
The raise was voted down 133-15, but leaders in the Senate say they might allow it to go through.
Some Democrats said the raise should be allowed to go through. Representative Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) said keeping pay lower means only those who are otherwise wealthy can afford to run for and hold office.
“We’re in charge of what? A $30-billion corporation,” said Colona. “I hear from my friends on the majority side if the aisle all the time, ‘We need to treat government more like a business. It needs to run more like a business.’ … What business would you work for that didn’t give you a raise for seven years.”
Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) says he might allow that raise to go through by holding that issue when it comes to a committee he chairs. He called its chances “50-50.”