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Representative Tim Flook (r-34) introduced a bill on April 1st to reduce legislative salaries:

HB 2476 Provides for a $5,000 reduction in the annual salary of members of the General Assembly

Sponsor: Flook, Tim (34) Proposed Effective Date: 08/28/2010

CoSponsor: Kraus, Will (48) ……….etal. LR Number: 5444L.01I

Last Action: 04/01/2010 – Introduced and Read First Time (H)

HB2476

Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled

House Calendar HOUSE BILLS FOR SECOND READING

This appears to be a goodbye gift from Representative Flook to the remaining members of the General Assembly. Representative Flook withdrew his filing for reelection one week earlier:

August 2010 Primary Election

Removed Candidates

STATE REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 34 TIM FLOOK (REPUBLICAN) LIBERTY MO 64068 WITHDRAWN 3/25/2010 2:31 PM

Rep. Flook withdraws from race, backs GOP candidate

“….Term limits were just around the corner in two years, and I thought this was just the right time for me to go,” Flook said. “We need good people to serve and good people to step aside….”

“….And I wanted to spend more time on my law practice and with my family….”

You don’t actually get rich on the salary you’re paid for being in the General Assembly:

Members of the House of Representatives receive an annual salary of $35,915.

In addition to their salary members are paid a per diem for every day the General Assembly is in session:

Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 21

General Assembly

Section 21.145

Member’s daily expense allowance–when paid.

21.145. Each senator or representative shall be reimbursed from the state treasury for actual and necessary expenses in an amount equal to eighty percent of the federal per diem established by the Internal Revenue Service for Jefferson City for each day on which the journal of the senate or house, respectively, shows the presence of such senator or representative. Upon certification by the president and secretary of the senate and by the speaker and chief clerk of the house of representatives as to the respective members thereof, the commissioner of administration shall approve and the state treasurer shall pay monthly such expense allowance.

Well, some argue that being a Missouri legislator is a part time job. Does anyone think that they could sustain a home in their district, pay for a place in Jefferson City while in session, and travel back and forth to their home district for that amount of money? Add to that serving full-time at the demand of the people in their district and the realization of the sacrifices these individuals make (even the batshit crazy right wingnut ideologues) hits you.

The contents of HB 2476:

SECOND REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 2476

95TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES FLOOK (Sponsor), KRAUS, SMITH (150), PRATT, MOLENDORP, AYRES, NANCE, STREAM, WELLS, FISHER (125), ZERR, BURLISON AND DUSENBERG (Co-sponsors).

5444L.01I                                                                                                                                                  D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk

AN ACT

To repeal section 21.140, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to compensation of members of the general assembly.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

           Section A. Section 21.140, RSMo, is repealed and one new section enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as section 21.140, to read as follows:

           21.140. 1. Each senator and representative shall receive from the treasury an annual salary of eighteen thousand seventy-eight dollars plus any salary adjustment provided pursuant to section 105.005, RSMo. The speaker of the house and the president pro tem of the senate shall each receive as additional annual compensation the amount of two thousand five hundred dollars, and the speaker pro tem of the house and the majority and minority floor leaders of the house and senate shall each receive as additional annual compensation the amount of one thousand five hundred dollars. Upon certification by the president and secretary of the senate and by the speaker and clerk of the house of representatives as to the respective members thereof, the commissioner of administration shall audit and the state treasurer shall pay such compensation. Senators and representatives shall receive, weekly, a mileage allowance as provided by law for state employees, in going to their place of meeting in Jefferson City from their place of residence, and returning from their place of meeting in Jefferson City to their place of residence while the legislature is in session, on the most usual route, if the senator or representative does travel to Jefferson City during that week.

           2. Beginning on January 5, 2011, the annual salary of each senator and representative shall be reduced by five thousand dollars or by such prorated portion of five thousand dollars as provided in this subsection. For the portion of the fiscal year from January 5, 2011, to June 30, 2011, such reduction shall be calculated on a prorated basis based on the number of compensation periods remaining in such portion of the fiscal year. For the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2011, the annual salary of each senator and representative shall be five thousand dollars less than the annual salary received on January 4, 2011, and no annual salary adjustment shall be made under section 105.005. For all fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2012, the annual salary of each senator and representative shall be five thousand dollars less than the annual salary received on January 4, 2011, plus any salary adjustment as provided in section 105.005, but no adjustment to the annual salary shall include any immediate increase necessary to return such annual salary amounts to the full salary amounts received on January 4, 2011.

Meanwhile, the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal has a bee in its bonnet about the number of representatives in the House, citing a reduction in the number of members as a budgetary saving of approximately three million dollars. Think about that, in a twenty-three billion dollar state budget [pdf].

Readers support idea to shrink government

Reduce House to Senate ratio from 5-1 to 2-1, readers say

Jack Miles

Editor

Warrensburg – Johnson Countians have advice for the planned Joint Interim Committee on Reducing the Size of State Government – include the Missouri House.

More than half of the nation’s 50 state governments have a 2-1 ratio of representatives to state senators. Missouri has a 5-1 ratio, one of the nation’s highest.

If Missouri went to a 2-1 – which could coincide with the new census – the estimated savings could top $3 million, based on pay and per diems for House members. The estimate does not include further savings on support staff, facilities and material….

….The public has not circulated a statewide petition to press the matter to a statewide vote.

“…The estimate does not include further savings on support staff, facilities and material…”

Will there be a commensurate decline in the number of constituent requests of those  legislators? I don’t think so. The work load will remain the same or increase.

Think about the geometric increase in costs in running a campaign in a legislative district that is half the size of senate district as opposed to approximately one fifth the size. Will the personal interaction with constituents increase? I don’t think so. Say goodbye to grassroots door to door campaigning. A larger district means big money for mailings and paid media. And with no limits on campaign contributions who’ll pony up to get the representation they want? The people with deep pockets.

Reducing the number of members in the House, even for the stated purpose of “cutting costs”, is a bad idea. Doing so would actually reduce the public’s representation in Jefferson City. Instead, increasing the funding available to the General Assembly to enhance constituent services and responsiveness would be a good thing. Doing so might even give Missouri citizens greater confidence in our legislature. And maybe we’d get what we paid for.