Possible Legislator Pay Increase
Republican State Senator Kevin Engler does not want to approve a pay increase.
"We haven't taken the same salary increases we have given the state workers the past seven years, but we did that, and then went out publicly and said we didn't take those pay raises. What great people we are, and now we are going to go back and pick up that pay level. I don't think its right," said Engler.
On Wednesday, Engler proposed a resolution rejecting the salary increase for judges, legislators and statewide elected officials.
"It's the principle of the thing that we agreed not to take the pay increases," said Engler.
The Citizen Commission recommended judges and state elected officials get a raise of $1,200 and four percent of their annual salary beginning July 1. This also applies for new legislators in January 2009. Woody Cozad said the Missouri Bar Association strongly supports the pay raise. He said many lawyers won't become judges because of the current lower pay for judges.
"Scratch your head and say well, I don't think I'm going to go through that. I don't know how I would justify the pay cut to my wife and kids," said Cozad.
While the committee plans on discussing the resolution with other Senate members, Majority Leader Charlie Shields said, "I think the mood within the committee and a majority of these committee members would be a no on the resolution at this point."
The resolution would have to pass through the Senate and House by a two-thirds majority before February second, to void the proposed pay increase. Missouri's elected judges and legislators have not had a pay increase in more than seven years. Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields said the resolution will most likely not pass, and that will mean pay increases will most likely occur.