House approves expense bill to clear way for pay raise | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

House approves expense bill to clear way for pay raise

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 2:50 PM

click to enlarge DEFENDS PAY RAISE: Speaker Jeremy Gillam.
  • DEFENDS PAY RAISE: Speaker Jeremy Gillam.
The House voted 90-1 today for a personal expense bill that will clear the way for a 150 percent pay raise.

The independent citizens commission established by Amendment 94 on Monday approved a raise in legislative pay from $15,869 to $39,400 and $45,000 for the leaders of the House and Senate. Those pay raises were conditioned on the House and Senate giving up a $14,400 expense account that many drew as a pure salary supplement by claiming payment for an LLC operated by a relative.

The bill doesn't give up all expenses. Legislators will continue to receive up to $150 a day in per diem for expenses, including on many days they don't work; and will be reimbursed for mileage expenses at 56 cents a mile, where other state employees get 42 cents. Also, dozens of them will qualify for $3,600 in flat expense payments for serving as chair or vice chair of the many legislative committees.

Rep. John Walker said he knew the bill would pass and urged others to join him in casting a symbolic no vote. He said it "sends a bad message" for legislators and others to get huge pay increases while state agencies are being held to little or no pay increases — 1 percent in the case of higher education. "We can make no representations of fiscal fidelity .... and say the state has to be parsimonious when we are feathering our own nests." He said legislators knew the pay when they ran.

That drew Speaker Jeremy Gillam to the well to say that the bill wasn't about pay but about House management. He said it fulfilled an obligation he and Senate President Jonathan Dismang had made to the pay commission. He said Walker and others were free to waive salary increases if they chose. 

Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh spoke for the measure by saying legislators weren't getting much of a pay raise. He said they'd have to pay taxes on the additional $23,500, which will be "very little raise" against the old pay and expense allotment. That's true if the expense allotment paid was just a salary supplement and not reimbursement for expenses. Which of course it was for many. Deffenbaugh also apparently misunderstands the effective tax rate. Income taxes wouldn't take more than a quarter of that pay raise for most lawmakers.

In the end, only Walker voted no.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation