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.”
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