Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Give them incentive to go home!: Proposition 302

Proposition 302: Legislative Pay Raise

Not much has been said about Proposition 302 and, to the best of my knowledge, no PACs have been formed to support or oppose it.

Nonetheless, this 50% increase in the legislative salary--leaving per diem pay untouched--raises some interesting questions about the nature of Arizona's legislature.

The Arizona Republic puts forth a few cogent arguments in favor, but its thinking is so far inside the box that I needed a flashlight to find it!

The question oughtn't be whether the time spent on the job merits full time pay, and I don't subscribe to the argument that legislators' nondesert of a raise stems from their political views.

Rather, I recommend voting down Proposition 302 as a step towards legislative reform. As Peter Schmerl and former legislator John Kromoko argued separately in 2000, there isn't enough real work for the legislature to do to merit a hundred-day session. If they have time to put symbolic English-only legislation on the ballot they have too much time for mischief on their hands. Keep their pay low--don't even adjust it for inflation--until their session becomes shorter and more focused.

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