According to Cape Cod Online, Massachusetts lawmakers will receive “a 5.5 percent hike in their base pay this year — to more than $61,000 — even as they prepare to make deep cuts to state services. The increase lifts the base salary for the 200 members of the House and Senate from $58,237 to $61,440 — a raise of $3,203 a year.”
The timing of the pay raise awkward, as the state grapples with the tumbling economy and tax revenues, increasing unemployment and prospects for more deep spending cuts.
Some lawmakers called the pay hike inappropriate in the current economy.
“I am not going to take a pay increase at the same time I’m having to cut jobs,” said Rep. Jeffrey D. Perry, who said he’ll donate his raise “to worthy causes in my district.”
Perry, who is the eastern-most Republican elected in the state, is a former Wareham police sergeant and the RLC’s best ally in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Perry recently celebrated his 45th birthday party with a campaign fundraiser in his hometown of Sandwich, Massachusetts.
An opposing view was offered by Rep. Demetrius Atsalis (D-Hyannis), who said state lawmakers are paid less than Boston city councilors, and the raise is “constitutionally required.” According to Atsalis, “The way I look at it is I earn every penny.”
Jeff Perry, once again, sticks to principle.