Maryland legislators have not acted to reject or lower automatic pay raises set to kick in, so they will receive a 15.7 percent pay hike over the next four years.
The issue, first reported by the MarylandReporter.com, comes as lawmakers continue to debate whether they should raise the state’s minimum wage. The issue first came to light in a story by MarylandReporter.com.
Two independent salary commissions authorized by the state constitution, recommended the raises, says WBAL TV. If legislators don't lower or reject the raises, they go into effect automatically, and lawmakers have not acted on the raises so far.
Legislators currently make $43,500 annually. The increases will put them at $50,330 for a part-time job.
Legislators have already allowed the next governor to get a 20 percent pay raise to $180,000 a year because they did nothing to stop it in the first 45 days of this session.
The only potential roadblock to the pay increases are resolutions introduced by all 12 Republican senators and 38 of the 43 Republicans in the House of Delegates, says the MarylandReporter. Both resolutions are waiting in the Rules Committee of each house, committees dominated by the Democratic leadership.
"All the taxes that have been levied on families, they are having a tough time making ends meet, so we don't think it is appropriate for legislators to get a raise at this current time the way the economy is," House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga told the TV station.
Maryland lawmakers' salaries rank 13th in the nation. Legislators also receive a stipend for operating district offices. During the session, they receive $42 a day for meals and $101 a day for lodging. Their travel allowance will increase from $500 to $750.
"Legislators are supposed to be part-time here. I would hope no one is here for the money," Szeliga said.
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