My friend Tom Koch, who served ably for many years in the Vermont house, noted last week that “the Vermont Senate has voted 19-10 to pass S.39, “An act relating to compensation and benefits for members of the Vermont General Assembly.”
The bill provides for huge increases in legislative pay. And since there is always an explanation for doing the wrong thing, the justification given for passing this bill is to make it easier for young working people, single mothers, and others to serve in the legislature without making a huge financial sacrifice.
“Beginning January 2025, legislative pay will go from $811.00 per week in session to $1,000.00—a 23% increase! That will be followed by a further increase, to $1,100.00 per week, as of January 2026—another 10%. And each of these increases is augmented by “an adjustment consistent with the compensation increase provided to other constitutional officers” for those years. The bill also has a totally new provision—compensation for one day per week while the legislature is in adjournment—generally from late May until the first week in January! This is because legislators have “constituent work” to do, such as answering phone calls and attending public meetings that they don’t otherwise get paid for! In addition, each legislator is entitled to reimbursement for meals for each day the legislature is in session at $69.00 per day.
We are about to get the professional legislature Vermonters shouldn’t have to support.
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