Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mass. lawmakers refuse pay hike

Considering the financial state we are all in right now, this is a responsible and respectful decision. I have to admit, when I heard about this yesterday, they had not decided if they were going to accept the pay raise or not.

There was a part of me that was saying to myself that there is no way that they would accept it, especially considering when last month, Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino had decided to forgo their traditional holiday parties for staff and the press. "They wanted to trim costs. They also don't want to be seen reveling in the midst of a recession and projectd deep budget cuts" WBZ News reported.

Instead of partying, members of Patrick's staff joined City Year volunteers to prepare food and gifts for families in need and Menino is encouraging people who typically come to his party and anyone else to drop off wrapped toys at his office.

And then there was a part of me that was imagining them taking and accepting it, regardless of the financial stress everyone is experiencing. Like in the Lord of the Rings, the urge and temptation looking them right in the face. It is one of those What Would You Do? situations.

Mass. lawmakers refuse pay hike

Increase optional due to law passed in '98

BOSTON (AP) -- Several state legislators say they will not accept a 5.5 percent pay hike they're entitled to receive, while others plan to donate the increase to charity.

Under a state law approved by voters in 1998, lawmakers' pay rises or falls every two years in line with the state's median household income.

The five-and-a-half percent increase would lift the base annual pay for a member from $58,237 to $61,440.

Republicans Karyn Polito of Shrewsbury, Lewis Evangelidis of Holden and Todd Smola of Palmer, and Democrat Garrett Bradley of Hingham all announced today that they were rejecting the raise.

Polito said she could not in good conscience accept the raise when so many families in Massachusetts were struggling to make ends meet.

House Speaker Sal DiMasi said through a spokesman that he would accept the raise, while a spokesman for Senate President Therese Murray would not say if she had made a decision.

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