A state salary commission on Wednesday recommended a 10 percent cut to legislators’ pay, taking it from $50,400 per year to $45,360.
The State Officers Compensation Commission also reduced the per diem of legislators, who normally get about $200 per day for meals and lodging while in session. Now, they’ll see those payments cut by more than half.
Glenn Clary, who took over as chairman of the commission this week, said the Legislature must approve or reject those salary and per diem schedules by passing a bill within the first 60 days of regular session, and aren’t able to adjust the recommendations. It’s all or nothing.
Clary said the salary cuts are not retaliatory but that Alaskans have seen half of their Permanent Fund dividends taken from them by the Legislature this year, and “I’d like to hear from legislators about why they should not allow these recommendations to go forward.”
Commission member Duane Bannock wrote: “If the new salary (90% of $50,400) is considered, the total compensation package is now $52,380 ($3,780 x12 months + $2,340 x 3 months). It’s hard for me to think anyone can complain about a job that pays $52,380 + benefits for only being a part-time legislator, especially considering the fiscal position of the state.”
The commission did not touch the salaries of the governor, lieutenant governor or commissioners.
While Juneau is an expensive place to set up temporary residence for lawmakers, Juneau legislators Sen. Dennis Egan and Reps. Sam Kito Jr. and Justin Parish receive 75 percent of the per diem of other legislators, although they are not out of town on assignment. The Compensation Commission did not alter that arrangement.