ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The General Assembly Compensation Commission voted unanimously on Friday to recommend a $6,306 pay increase to state lawmakers’ salaries for the next term, which would be incrementally given over the next four years.
Before the meeting, some commission members questioned how many years should the pay increase be going up. They wanted to know the reasoning behind choosing either three years or four years. The answer was that they took the average from the last pay increase and tried to apply to four years instead, which gave them a higher pay bump than the last one.
There were three options to potential changes: not increasing pay at all, increasing lawmakers’ pay by a cumulative 4.5% over the next four years, or increasing lawmakers’ pay by a cumulative 9.9% over the next four years.
It was noted that unemployment has become more prevalent in America, and some members of the commission felt that giving lawmakers too much of a salary increase would be wrong.
“I could support something with a minimal change over four years like 2% each year just to recognize what they have done. But, I think whatever we decide to do we need to go in realizing our members are fairly paid based on the competition,” commission member Wendell Rakosky said.
Meanwhile, other members believe that the data statistics show that the pay increase of 4% should just be on the floor. But, this would make their salaries in the top 10% of the hybrid general assemblies in the nation.
“I feel that number could be justified given the actions of the other commissions, given the steps that are being taken with the statewide workforce, and particularly in reflecting on how little change there has been a legislators’ salaries since 2006,” member Matthew Gallagher said.
Additionally, the commission is setting the ceiling for the pay increase. Ultimately, the General Assembly can drop this pay increase if the situation calls for it. Most members believe that there should be more than minimum action because of this reality.
Eventually, they compromised to have the proposed increase be 4% in 2023, and 2% in 2024,2025, and 2026. This would move lawmakers’ salaries from $50,330 to $56,636 by the fourth year, commission member Simon Powell said.
The General Assembly Compensation Commission includes five members appointed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.[R], two members were appointed by Senate President Bill Ferguson[D], and two members were appointed by House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones[D].
Although the commission reached a compromise, the General Assembly will still have to approve the recommendation, which can reduce or reject the recommendations.
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