Looking ahead on politician pay; no request yet from legislature | Arkansas Blog

Monday, May 22, 2017

Looking ahead on politician pay; no request yet from legislature

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 9:36 AM

The Arkansas Supreme Court news release on workload shifts reminded me of the ongoing issue of pay raises for elected state officials.

The citizens commission that fixes state official pay has begun meetings this year. So far, it has heard the Supreme Court ask for an 11 percent pay raise and heard other judges, from Court of Appeals down to district court, ask for a 2 percent pay raise. The cost-of-living pay increase for state employees next year is going to be 1 percent for those not covered in a restructuring of some, mostly lower, pay grades.

No other public officials have made a request yet.

I wondered about the legislature. It brokered a huge pay raise in the first year of the independent commission's authority in 2015. Pay went from $15,869 to $39,400, but legislators agreed to give up a home office expense account that was, for many legislators, a simple pay supplement. They kept the per diem payments that amount to tax-free pay supplements, along with some other expense allowances.

The independent commission gave no raises in 2016.

This year, I wondered, what does the legislature have in mind, if anything?

Said Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang:

The Senate will provide information or answer questions, but we will not be making a proposal.

No response yet from House Speaker Jeremy Gillam.


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