Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shame on North Carolina: Raise legislator pay!

North Carolina's pay for legislators is an embarrassment. Some even have to take other jobs just to make ends meet! It's true they don't meet 12 months a year, but think of all the work they have to do after hours -- going to cocktail parties, dinners and sporting events, for example.

How can our great state compete for the best talent when legislators can just cross the line to another state and make thousands more? Did you know starting legislators in Alaska make $50,400 a year, plus a hefty per diem? For goodness' sake, we pay our legislators only $4,000 more than Mississippi!

Do we not value what these people do? How can we find it acceptable that our children are taught about politics from people who make less than sanitation workers? An entry-level legislator has to work for years to see any bump in pay. Why, they have to work their way up all the way to majority or minority leader to get a $3,000 raise. No wonder they don't feel appreciated.

It's true that legislators don't go into this field to get rich. It's their passion for the work; nothing is more rewarding than that moment that they see that light go on in a campaign donor's eyes and they know they've made a connection. That's what it's all about.

Still, do they not deserve a living wage, for all they do? Thankfully, there is finally a push being made to do right by the people we entrust our public policies to each day. Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, is taking a courageous stand: He has proposed a bill that would nearly triple legislators' pay, from $13,951 to $36,000. They would, of course, maintain their expense allowance of $559 a month and their per diem of $104 a day when they are in session.

But with legislators being so vital to our future, we propose an even better approach than across-the-board raises. It includes a menu of options (though some might not go over well with the legislators' union):

  • Instead of giving a raise to everyone, we will give a raise only to starting legislators. Those in their first term will get a 5 percent bump, but all others will remain flat.

  • Legislators will give up their tenure, er, safe seats. But in return, the top 25 percent of legislators will get a $500 per year pay bump. Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger will decide which legislators are among the best 25 percent.

  • We don't want to reward the bad legislators, only the good ones. So we will institute a pay-for-performance merit raise structure. Only those legislators whose constituents score well on civics tests will be eligible for a raise.

  • Every legislator will get a letter grade from his or her constituents. Those who are awarded A's will get raises. All others will not. This will create incentives for our legislators to do their best.

  • Any legislator who earns a Masters in Public Policy will not be awarded extra pay.

North Carolina was once a state where a legislator could get a fine meal every night and put it on the lobbyist's tab. No more. It's time we show how much we care.

-- Taylor Batten


Rockingruvin said...


Archiguy said...

Notice he didn't say how he'd pay for all those raises. But we needn't wonder. He's a Republican! That means raising taxes on the top 1% or curbing their tax loopholes are off the table.

But surely there are more cuts to be made to the food stamp and Medicaid programs, right? Those people are clearly living too high on the hog, and their leaders gotta' get PAID! Priorities, people!

Shelly said...

AMEN! I've been saying this all along. Let's base their pay on successfulness of their constituents; ie unemployment, pay scales, etc.

Aubrey Moore said...

No way, with the large pool of sorry good-for-nothings to choose from, this is a case of supply and demand not warranting any raises. As a matter of fact, there is no correlation between pay and performance, so I say, stop paying them altogether, or in other words, pay them what they are worth.

Larry said...

I get it, wit. What else will you be rolling out as things get worse?

Elise Sorenson said...

Elected lawmakers should not make more than 26,000 per year, the average salary of our enlisted military.

Rboggs81 said...

Wow. I think some of you clearly missed the message of this tongue in cheek article. If you can't see it is clearly mocking the way the teacher pay battle is going than maybe you should go back to school and get some help.

Larry said...


You are right, of course most folks do not realized they walk around with filters that keep them from seeing things a real light.

Speaking of that, everyone should see the movie Being There.

Morton Hull: Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years?
Chance the Gardener: Why?

comeonman said...

I truly can't believe Archiguy's really that stupid. Maybe he's being sarcastic...... but I doubt it. Come on man, pull your head out of that goofy, liberal world you're living in and catch up. The author simply wants you to see how ridiculous our legislators are being when it comes to paying our teachers. So calm your ultra-liberal reflexes down dude. Teacher pay is supposed to be one of your causes.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Might I add that instead of basing performance bonuses on a civics lesson, that it be based on voter turnout in their district? Obviously our leaders should want an active citizenry.

Perhaps they could also create a license plate to help raise funds for legislator pay. Or throw the ball back to each district to decide how much they want to raise the base salary for their elected officials.

Carol Justus said...

If you want a job that you can raise your own salary, then run for state legislature or the federal congress and in congress you and in some state legislatures you can even make laws that all others have to obey, but the law does not apply to the members of congress or to some legislators.

Tandemfusion said...

Instead of giving them a raise, let's re-structure the pay of all legislators, State and Federal. Let us begin by setting the pay at the lesser of $50k, or their W-2 wages for the last year in which they were not employed in the public sector. That should go a long way to eliminating people who seek or seek to keep the office for personal gain.

And lets eliminate personal expense budgets for any expense that would not be allowable to a private sector business. (So, no commuting costs, for example. No clothing allowance. No dry cleaning. No hair cuts. Etc.)

And about that per diem: how about we pay that only for days in which the legislator actually remains overnight in the capitol at a hotel or motel room. And let's limit it to the lowest published room rate in a hotel or motel in the county of the capitol.

And one last thing. think of it as the Leona Helmsly rule. Let's make it a felony for staffers to engage in the personal affairs of the legislator. Need to renew your license plates or pick up your laundry or grab some roses for your mistress? No more sending a staffer. Want dinner reservations? Make the call yourself. While we're at it, let's limit state legislators to two paid staff members, and Federal legislators to four paid staff members, none of whom can be related blood or marriage,

It's not, by the way, that I think we should punish people for seeking office, but rather that we need to keep them living a bit more like ordinary folks.

Carol Justus said...

We will never have honest legislators or members of congress until campaign contributions are limited to the people in the district the person running can raise money.

Now many or most of the congress get their campaign contributions from out of state.

Contributions for any and all candidates including city council, county supervisors, state legislators, judges, school board members and members of congress should only be able to raise money from the people that are able to vote for them for the office they seek.

bobcat99 said...

Exactly. What is gerrymandering except a job guarantee? Democrats once gerrymandered to ensure a majority in General Assembly. The GOP, who promised to clean up corruption in the capital, has taken it a step even further. The only way we will be able to escape the crazy that rules from Raleigh is competitive districts. We should do what we can to make every precinct at least 60/40 registered voters in favor of one party or the other. Then the people of the state have at least a shot at representative government.

Kevin Kern said...

I am a Republican, I find this disgraceful. How can they freeze teacher's pay for seven years and give themselves pay raises? They are turning teaching into a dead end job and rewarding themselves for is. Awful!

Kevin Kern said...

I am a Republican, I find this disgraceful. How can they freeze teacher's pay for seven years and give themselves pay raises? They are turning teaching into a dead end job and rewarding themselves for is. Awful!

Kevin Kern said...

It, sorry predictive text😊

Marc Lindgren said...

i truly hope this is a satiracal piece. How about instead of paying the legislators (thieves) we stop screwing the teachers and pay them! Triple their salary.

Skippy said...

Gee whiz, one would think from reading this latest piece of whine that it has been the GOP in control of NC for the last 100 years..

How quickly we forget..