Looks like no raises for state elected officials this year. Fair enough | Arkansas Blog

Looks like no raises for state elected officials this year. Fair enough

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LARRY ROSS: Why meet? Pay commission chair says if state employees aren't getting pay raise, no need for elected officials to have one either.
  • LARRY ROSS: Why meet? Pay commission chair says if state employees aren't getting pay raise, no need for elected officials to have one either.

From KTHV is an Associated Press article
that indicates Larry Ross, chairman of the independent commission that meets annually on state official pay, sees no need to meet this year. He'd indicated he was leaning that way earlier.

A meeting had been scheduled June 14, but it has been canceled. Ross indicated that, since state employees aren't getting a cost of living raise this year, there seemed no point to give one to legislators, statewide elected officials and judges. All of them got whopping pay raises last year after implementation of the amendment that created the commission. The commission was created by legislators who wanted the political hot potato of pay raises put in other hands (that they appointed) and so they slipped a Trojan horse of an ethics amendment to passage that included this commission. Some elected officials won't be happy about this no-raise decision. I think of the Supreme Court justices who complained last year that raises to $166,500 a year weren't big enough, though our judges are already among the best paid in the country, particularly considering the state's low income. Legislators, too, value themselves highly, though most draw tens of thousands in per diem on top of almost $40,000 in pay.

Here's thought: I hope there's an accounting by income level of how the "merit pay" pay raises of 1.5 to 4.5 percent are handed out among the work force. Such as average dollar boosts by salary category. If it turns out like Asa Hutchinson's tax cuts (which he has said this week he wants to do more of, given that the state is flush with Obamacare money and surpluses created by starving state services and employees), the dollars will be concentrated at the higher end of the spectrum. A 1.5 percent raise for one of Asa's $200,000-a-year top hands is worth $3,000. A 4.5 percent raise for the maintenance worker knocking down $30,000 is worth $1,400.

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