Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rep. Williams Proposes Reducing Legislative Per Diem

SB 6503, the "furlough bill," has been sitting on the House floor calendar for several days now and could be brought up for a vote by the full House at any time. A couple of different amendments have been submitted but the most provocative is the amendment proposed by Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22).

Williams' amendment would "reduce the per diem compensation paid to legislators during the 2011 session by an amount equivalent to the reduction in employee compensation costs achieved under this act for the average legislative employee." In his Feb. 5 Legislative Update, Williams wrote:

"So while a financial industry that taxpayers bailed out resumes showering record bonuses upon executives, we’re to somehow blame our state’s budget shortfall on . . . state employees in charge of child support enforcement? Mental health nurses? Community corrections officers? Audiologists at the School for the Deaf? Custodians? Social workers? Those processing unemployment claims? Community college professors? If politicians choose to pile more hardship onto the working-class families in my district, they should take some responsibility upon themselves."

Most folks don't realize that legislative staff voluntarily took furloughs last year to prevent layoffs, and now SB 6503 imposes even more furloughs on them [See Sec. 2(e)]. Legislators themselves can't be furloughed because the state constitution requires their salaries to be set by an independent commission, which is why Williams proposes reducing per diem. It's not "salary." -- Dennis


Anonymous said...

AMENDMENT TO THIS BILL TAKES AWAY PAID PERSONAL HOLIDAYS THROUGH 6/2011!! How will reduced per diem level that out?

Anonymous said...

Why has the union not notified the employees of the change to remove personal holidays that is in our current contract? It does not save any money. As a union member I pay good money and I expect the union to take a stand on this issue.