Pay raise continues to haunt lawmakers
It seems unlikely an 11 percent pay raise could ever come at a bad time.
But for lawmakers, the 11 percent boost to their bottom line has turned into a public relations fiasco.
For Democrats, in particular, it’s become akin to a game of hot potato – who can get rid of the extra money the fastest?
Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, is giving his to charity, unless lawmakers give teachers a pay raise.
And Gov. Jay Inslee is donating his extra bucks to public schools.
Inslee was granted a 4 percent increase, taking his current salary from $166,891 to $173,617 over a two-year period.
The state’s independent salary commission approved the raise the same day teachers staged walkouts across the state protesting the Legislature’s inaction.
Teachers have blasted legislators, mainly focused on the GOP-controlled Senate, for not putting enough money toward schools.
Senate Republicans have proposed a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment raise for teachers. Democrats have floated a 3 percent raise for the 2015-16 school year and a 1.8 percent boost the following year.
Lawmakers and governors weren’t the only one to receive raises; judges did too.
But the timing has haunted lawmakers in particular.
There has been chatter of asking voters to affirm or reject the raises. A sponsor would need 123,186 valid signatures by August 17 to be submitted to the secretary of state’s office.
Since the citizen panel was created by the Legislature and voters in 1986, their decision has never been questioned by voters.