Pay Hikes for CA Legislative Staff Raise Eyebrows

It’s no secret that California’s fiscal house has long been out of order, and it’s become especially apparent this past year when the Governor and Legislature pushed through a series of deep cuts as a last-ditch effort to balance the budget. The austerity measures didn’t stop at cuts to state programs- most state workers will also be facing a pay cut starting this fiscal year.

That being said- what are your thoughts on merit pay raises for legislative staffers during a time of fiscal crisis? Recent reports indicate that the California Senate approved raises of up to 5% for 559 of its employees this past year, while the Assembly awarded raises to roughly 150 staffers. To be fair, most of these folks haven’t seen a raise in the past three years due to freezes, so a 3 to 5% raise appears sound.

I can tell you from firsthand experience that for most employees working in the Legislature the pay isn’t pretty and the hours are long, so perhaps a nominal raise after a long pay freeze is good for morale and well-deserved in most instances. But what about raises for those on the higher end of the pay scale?

A newly released payroll record shows that at least 93 California Legislative employees making over $100,000 received a raise this past year. Don’t they also deserve a bump along with the rest? With all the negative buzz surrounding the issue, it doesn’t appear so.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has even issued a statement proposing a new salary freeze on all Senate employees for this fiscal year. Pay hikes during a deficit, yea or nay? What are your thoughts?

Here’s more on the issue from the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/07/assembly-awards-pay-raises-to-more-than-100-staffers.html

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/07/more-than-half-of-senate-staffers-received-raises-in-last-12-months.html

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/07/california-legislative-staffers-making-six-figures-get-raises.html