Countless Americans are facing challenges as inflation persists, leading to increased costs for necessities. However, certain elected officials seem immune to these concerns. They wield considerable influence over their own salary hikes and aren’t hesitant to capitalize on it.
In the previous year, Kansas state lawmakers established a bipartisan pay commission to review their compensation. Upon its formation, the legislature stipulated that unless both chambers passed resolutions opposing it by February 7, the commission’s proposed pay adjustment would be adopted automatically. With the commission now presenting its recommendation and the deadline for rejection having lapsed, Kansas legislators are set to receive the raise outlined by the commission.
It’s unsurprising that the legislature didn’t oppose the pay arrangement, given its substantial deviation from the inflation rate. Currently, Kansas House and Senate members receive a base salary of $30,000 annually. The commission has suggested a 93% increase, raising it to $58,000, nearly doubling the existing rate. Additionally, the House Speaker and Senate President stand to benefit, as their compensation is slated to climb from $44,000 to $85,000.
The Kansas legislature has shielded itself from allegations of directly approving a substantial raise for its members; at most, it can be faulted for not actively rejecting it. Nonetheless, it did establish the commission, outline its objectives, and consent to the operational procedures it would follow.
Subsequently, when the commission presented its recommendations that significantly exceeded inflation rates, lawmakers simply allowed the process to proceed without much intervention. In early February, certain state senators attempted to instigate a discussion but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
Supporters of the salary increase argue that it will contribute to a more diverse legislature. While some taxpayers in Kansas may find this aspect favorable, a larger portion would likely prioritize reduced tax payments.