Oregon lawmakers are considering raising their annual pay by nearly $20,000, a move the sponsors say will attract more diverse candidates to the statehouse.
“We’re a diverse state, we need a diverse legislature,” Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, one of the legislators leading the effort, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Because of the low pay, we are automatically screening out people who really should be represented here.”
That may sound cynical, but in fact the case for doing this is not crazy, and in general the U.S. underpays many (not all!) of its public sector employees:
The move comes only a few weeks after a 28 percent legislative pay raise went into effect. Lawmakers were not behind that raise, and the increase was tied to collective bargaining agreements that affected nearly 40,000 state employees.
Legislators now make $31,200, plus an extra $149 a day when the Legislature is in session.
Here is the full story, with further detail of interest, and for the pointer I thank Mark West.