28% Increase in Kansas Legislator Pay
Over the past 7 years there has been a 28% increase in Kansas legislator pay according to an article printed by the Wichita Eagle. The compensation increase for the coming legislative session will be an increase of 8.5%. This is the result of a 2008 bill passed that increased public workers’ compensation and set the Kansas legislator pay rate to equal the Federal legislator pay rates.
The first order of business this upcoming legislative session should be to address the 2008 bill and either repeal it or modify it accordingly. The legislator compensation should be adjusted to reflect the past 7 year compensation package increases, or decreases, for all other public employee groups such as teachers, higher education, prison employees, etc…. What might be alarming is many of these employee groups actually experienced a decrease in wages over that time when you factor in the number of layoffs to each of those groups while the number of legislators increased during the same time period.
There should be greater accountability for direct per diem reimbursements that have actual receipts to verify the reimbursable. The current legislator compensation practices give a guaranteed per diem rate regardless of actual expenses. The legislature has subsequently increased the accountability for schools expenditures while at the same time Legislators are not held to the same standard.
A 28% increase in legislator pay is not the root issue. These men and women, who seek the calling to serve the citizens of Kansas should have a fair compensation package for actual costs accrued for conducting their business. The citizens of Kansas need to help their legislators to understand what is “fair” given the current economic condition in Kansas these men and women created.