Pay raise for California lawmakers goes into effect

4:36 PM, Dec 2, 2013   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO - A five-percent pay raise goes into effect for 120 legislators and 12 constitutional officers this week.

It's the first pay hike for  the Legislature  in more than six years.  Repeated salary cuts were approved  by the California Citizens Compensation commission during the recession.  The raise increases the base pay from $90,526 to $95, 291.

Just a handful of lawmakers are asking the state controller to withhold the extra cash from their paychecks.

I decided I wouldn't take the pay raise. I am one of the members," said  Assem.  Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova. "I don't actually take the per diem either.  I live local.  My feeling is when I was in local government starting in 2009, when the economy started to tank,  I stopped doing pretty much all city travel trips.  You know, hey, the economy is down, you need to protect the public fiscally ... When things are well, you can be a little more liberal that way. So i would say that is my record personally. You know, even when I leave my Capitol office,, I turn off the light switch."

Cooley says his decision to not take the pay hike is personal and he is not judging colleagues who  will take the extra money.

California's base pay for lawmakers is the highest in the country, although they do not receive pensions.


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