Prop 1F: Elected Officials' Salaries

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Recent polls show that the only special election ballot measure  voters are enthusiastically supporting is Proposition 1F. 
It would prevent lawmakers and some other elected officials from getting pay raises when the state is running a budget deficit, much like this year.
Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports… 
One of the biggest supporters of Prop 1F is Republican State Senator Abel Maldonado… 
“In essence it’s pretty simple.  It says if we are in a deficit, we are in the red…politicians shouldn’t get raises…”
It’s because of Maldonado that 1F is on the ballot.  It was one of the demands he made in exchange for his vote on the state budget in February.   
He says it’s only fair that lawmakers and other statewide elected officials don’t get pay hikes when California is cash-strapped… 
“How is it that over the last four years, politicians have received 17-thousand dollars in pay increases when we’ve asked teachers to cut their salaries.  We’ve asked teachers to cut education, we’ve cut human services?  It’s an accountability measure.  We’re making politicians accountable…”    
California lawmakers are the highest paid in the nation…at more than 116-thousand dollars a year.
The California Citizens Compensation Commission is an independent panel that sets salaries for lawmakers and other state elected officials. 
Chairman Charles Murray says they should forgo salary increases during deficits… 
“I think its what this committee should do anyway, so to have it in writing is fine with me…”
Murray actually has been pushing for lawmakers to take a pay cut.
Finding opponents of 1f isn’t easy to do.  Pete Stahl is a political blogger.  His argument against 1F is the only one published in the  voter information guide… 
“The legislators themselves are so highly partisan and so highly ideological that simply holding their pay raises won’t incent them to come together and make a budget that works for California.  These legislators are actually doing their jobs beautifully…”
The state’s non-partisan legislative analyst says if 1F is approved the savings for taxpayers would be pretty small compared to the enormity of the budget.  For instance, a three-percent raise for lawmakers costs the state less than 500-thousand dollars a year.