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Pay Plan Rejected

January 22, 2001
By: Jennifer Ginsberg
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed pay plan for Missouri's top officials will be debated by Missouri's Senate.

The Senate Rules Committee voted 8-0 to reject the recommendation of the Citizen's Commission on Compensations for Elected Officials. The plan would increase the salaries of statewide elected officials, judges and legislators by 5.5 percent.

"The sons of liberty needs to stand up when the king attempts to set their salary," said the resolution's sponsor, Sen. Marvin Singleton, R-Seneca. "I think the citizens of Missouri need to know."

Under Missouri's constitution, recommendations by the salary commission automatically take effect unless rejected by a majority vote of both the House and Senate by the end of January.

If the commission's current recommendation is not rejected, then state senators' and state representatives' current salaries of $31,246 would increase to $32,965 effective fiscal year 2002 (that begins July 1 of this year) and $34,778 effective fiscal year 2003.

The governor's salary would increase from the current $119,982 to $126,581 for fiscal year 2002 and $126,581 for the next fiscal year $133,543.

Not everyone on the Senate committee fully embraced the rejecting the pay hikes.

Sen. James L. Mathewson, D-Sedalia, questioned disapproving the recommendation from a process that Missourians voted overwhelmingly just a few months ago not to change.

"The people decided they wanted to keep the salary commission in place. Should we go with what the people want or what we want?" Mathewson asked.

In November, Missourian's voted nearly two-to-one against Constitutional Amendment No. 3 that would have repealed legislative power to reject salary recommendations.

Singleton's resolution to reject the pay plan now goes to the full Senate for debate. The legislature has until midnight on January 31 to take action. Otherwise, the pay increases take effect, but are subject to appropriation by the legislature.