Friday, March 13, 2015

Oklahoma Pays Her Legislators Handomely

Sooner State Ranks 16th In Legislative Compensation

  While Oklahoma's state workers and public school teachers relentlessly complain that the legislature doesn't provide comparable salaries, compared to other states, One chart lists Oklahoma at #16 in the nation. Nearly $40,000 per year plus a $153 per day (per diem) compensation for housing, travel, and meals while in session (4 months).
Texas, by contrast; pays their legislators just $7,200 annually, plus  $150 per diem. Arkansas pays less than $16,000 and $148 per diem
Rep. Jason Murphey, of Guthie, OK
   Rep. Jason Murphey has loudly protested the high pay and has publicly renounced the indulgence by donating more than 20% of his own salary to a medical charity in his district.
He adds;
“In order to reform government, we must cut out wasteful state government spending. I believe most Oklahomans feel it is not a good policy to pay legislators more than double the regional average,” said Murphey, R-Guthrie. "As legislators we must set the example for the rest of state government and that example will be much stronger if our legislators give up being some of the highest compensated part time legislators in the nation."
   Murphey explained that the cost of living in Oklahoma resides at one of the lowest levels in the nation.
"It's wrong to suggest that Oklahomans should expect to pay less for most other items but must pay much more for their legislators."
  The State's Legislative Compensation board is planning to meet this fall and consider yet another significant increase to $44,000 base pay (or more), for the next legislature.
 You can read more of Rep. Murphey's explanation on his blog, here.
  You can study Legislative compensation issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures, here.
  The Tulsa World covered the previous board decision to reject a 2013 raise to $44,000.
David Van Risseghem
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