Keller @ Large: Will Pay Raise Vote Come Back To Haunt Legislators?

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a done deal. Eighteen million dollars worth of pay raises for legislators, judicial branch officials and constitutional officers are in the pipeline after the legislature easily overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto.

“While Lt. Governor Polito and I are thankful for our collaborative relationship with the Legislature, we are disappointed in their decision to override this veto and believe it is fiscally irresponsible to increase compensation for elected officials given the current fiscal outlook for the state,” said Baker in a written statement Thursday night.

“One of the key roles of elected officials is to protect the people’s hard earned tax dollars. Authorizing this drastic salary increase with limited debate defies this obligation and places an undue financial burden on the people of Massachusetts. Lt. Governor Polito and I will reject this pay increase and any stipends associated with the law.”

Check Roll Call: Senate | House (via State House News)

Also rejecting their raise – Attorney General Maura Healey and Treasurer Deb Goldberg. Healey had deferred comment while the issue moved through the legislature, but tonight her spokeswoman told the State House News Service: “She was opposed to this increase when it was first proposed two years ago, and will not accept the increase for the remainder of her term.”

Perhaps the pay raise issue is still seen as poison in a statewide race (although Auditor Suzanne Bump and Secretary of State Bill Galvin will reportedly be pocketing their increases). But at the legislative level – forget about it. Not a single member of the House or Senate changed their vote since last week’s first round of voting.

Baker and others claimed phone calls and emails from angry taxpayers were pouring into Beacon Hill all week, but if they were, they had little impact.

Will tonight’s votes come back to haunt their beneficiaries in November 2018? It’s worth noting that declared Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez and nascent candidate Setti Warren opposed the pay raises, both on process grounds. “I fear that the decision by the legislature to force through their own pay raise will further shake the Commonwealth’s confidence that Beacon Hill is working in their best interest,” said Warren in a statement.

That sounds like both a quote from the 2006 Deval Patrick campaign and the line Republicans will be using next year, especially against the Democratic freshmen who made this vote one of their first.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. I’ve heard anger from many already about the time and resources our lawmakers spent opposing Question 4 and thwarting the will of the voters behind closed doors after the ballot initiative passed. That’s anger was nothing compared to this. The astronomical pay raise was like lawmakers kicking us while we’re down. Why do lawmakers make more than the average Massachusetts income anyways? I would say any prohibitionists lawmakers who voted to give themselves a raise, is in deep water if challenged next election. Too bad no independents ever run. So sick of R’s and D’s.

  2. “Will Pay Raise Vote Come Back To Haunt Legislators?”

    Of course not! Mass voters have the attention span of a gnat. When election time rolls around again, the same fat-cat, corrupt, career politicians will be back in office, possibly voting themselves another raise.

  3. Thank you for the link in the article to the names of the legislators who voted. I agree with Steve above, that sometimes we all get distracted and forget to hold legislators accountable. That is what they are counting on. I hope the media will remind us the next time we have an opportunity to vote. I’m doing my part, I went to the link, printed out their names and have a lot of friends who live in Boston and can all vote, who I will be sending the list to.

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