Erik Boehm from PA independent reports the yearly salary for lawmakers in PA. Our legislators make 83,800 a year, the second highest in the nation.
Got me thinking. Here is my riff on how I believe lawmakers should be compensated. First there is the philosophical question of should state lawmakers be paid at all. Are they full time “professionals” or should they be unpaid “volunteers”? In some states such as New Hampshire State Reps and Senators are volunteers and do not get paid. In Pennsylvania we have a professional legislature that receives the second highest yearly salary in the nation only behind California.
I believe that yes, lawmakers should be compensated. I do have an issue with the amount we pay here in PA compared to other states.
In my perfect world compensation would be based on the median personal income for the district represented. For example if median household income in your district is about 45,000 then you make 45,000.
And yes, in my proposal lawmakers could get a raise. How? Do a good job and bring up the average median household income in your district. Conversely… do a poor job and your salary gets cut.
I do believe in a full time legislature. States with unpaid tend to have weaker legislative branches compared to the executive. I believe in a system of strong checks and balances. To ensure one, we need a compensated full time legislative body.
I think a scale according to median district household income is a way to compensate that makes sense. Yes, many who run for office would be making sacrifices. Many come from very good private sector careers and take pay cuts to serve. I’m OK with that. Potential lawmakers should be willing to sacrifice if they honestly care deeply about serving/running. And maybe this would weed out those who are in it for the wrong reasons.
What do you think about this idea?
In contrast here are the bottom 10.