Twice, Justin Bernier has run for the Republican Party nomination in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, and twice he has lost. Now Bernier is turning his focus to the Connecticut General Assembly, proposing that the pay of state Senators and Representatives be cut 10 percent. As the website CTNewsJunkie reported, the plan was dead on arrival.
Bernier made his pitch to the Compensation Commission for Elected State Officers and Judges. Who knew there was such a commission? He reasons the General Assembly is a part-time legislature. But commission members countered, Bernier’s plan would not fly. If anything, lawmakers haven’t received a raise since 2001. The chair of the meeting, former Connecticut Speaker of the House Richard Balducci, said he could not support a pay cut. No conflict of interest there.
Base pay for state lawmakers is $28,000. But then there’s extra money for being given titles, plus expense pay, etc., etc., etc. In other words, no one is going broke serving in the General Assembly. And that’s not counting staff, some of whom make six-figure salaries plus benefits.
Most lawmakers will tell you, serving in the Connecticut General Assembly has turned into a full time job. Perhaps. But is it because they have turned into such a gig?
Talking compensation for lawmakers is always a sensitive subject. You can’t blame Justin for trying. If anything, maybe he has prevented the General Assembly from voting themselves another raise in base pay. For now, members will have to be content with getting hikes in their expense account and adding more deputy titles. After all, someone needs to get paid more money for handling the state’s huge deficit.