This bill establishes annual salary for Legislators based on average income of Oregonians determined by the Legislative Revenue Officer each odd-numbered year.
Currently paid just over $31,000 in salary, plus $149 per day while the Legislature is in session, and money for expenses. In addition, they may receive the same health care benefits state employees are entitled to and are eligible to participate in the Public Employees Retirement System if elected prior to 2013 or came from a PERS job. Had the bill been law last year, legislators would have earned a salary of $49,710, according to figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employers generally give raises based, at least in part, on the quality of the work individual employees have done. More money does not necessarily raise the quality of the men and women serving in the Legislature. Until the Legislature can tackle its most severe problems, its members haven’t earned a pay raise. Our state’s Constitution writers created a “citizen legislature,” meaning a person would be elected, do a few years then pass the baton to the next person and return to their private life. It is not to be a “career choice” and this bill will tempt folks to consider the Legislature as a “career” not a service. We already have too many who stay too long.