By James Meyers
2:18 PM – Thursday, February 8, 2024
Kansas lawmakers have decided to give themselves an almost 100% pay raise without even voting on it.
A bipartisan proposal took effect Wednesday that gave Kansas state lawmakers a 93% pay raise, which makes their compensation higher than states such as Georgia and Texas.
Instead of a vote, last year the lawmakers established a bipartisan pay commission, which recommended rank-and-file lawmakers, who have a $30,000 base compensation receive an increase of $28,000 starting in January of 2025, according to The Associated Press.
Additionally, higher-up lawmakers such as the Senate and House president would receive an increase from $44,000 annual salary to $85,000.
According to the Kansas Reflector, the Legislative Compensation Commission which is run by eight former state lawmakers, unanimously approved the pay raises for 165 Kansas Legislators.
Chairman of the commission Mark Hutton, said the new pay hike will help in recruitment and stop lawmakers from becoming lawmaking professionals.
“To be clear, I did not approach this responsibility with the intention of arriving at a political solution. While the commission reviewed the current compensation, we had little discussion about the size of the increase, choosing to reflect on what it should be,” Hutton told the Senate budget committee.
Meanwhile, Kansas legislators have been critical of the pay compensation for several years, claiming it isn’t enough to live on year-round. Supporters of the pay increase also say it will make the Legislature more diverse and stop people from becoming retirees and wealthy people.
The new pay increase, nearly $58,000, includes both a salary and daily, in-session payments to cover expenses such as meals and housing.