Republicans want to cut legislative pay -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Republicans want to cut legislative pay

January 29, 2003

(Atlanta-AP) -- Republicans in the Georgia Senate called Wednesday for state lawmakers to take a ten percent pay cut as a sign to voters that elected officials are willing to share the pain of state budget cuts.

The Republican leader, Senator Tom Price of Roswell, said  "The Senate Republican Caucus believes that if we cannot afford to give our teachers a pay raise, then we must take a pay cut."

He said he was introducing the pay cut legislation with the signatures of all 30 Senate Republicans as co-sponsors. That would give the measure more than the necessary votes to pass.

In the Democrat-controlled House, the idea won easy acceptance. Democratic Representative Tom Buck of Columbus, the budget chairman, said he already had drafted a bill calling for a five percent legislative pay cut but has not introduced it yet.

Buck said, "I think the General Assembly needs to bleed just like everybody else if we're going through this financial crisis."

Legislators are paid a salary of $16,200 a year, which would be reduced by ten percent under the Republican proposal. The GOP lawmakers said they weren't considering cuts in other legislative benefits at this time, but did not close the door on that later.

Besides their salaries, lawmakers are paid a $128 subsistence allowance for each of the 40 days they are in session and they are reimbursed 28 cents a mile for one roundtrip a week home.

They also may draw $7,000 a year for expenses they incur for such things as additional secretarial staff, postage and office equipment.

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