Independent panel suggests pay increase for Utah lawmakers
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An independent commission has recommended that Utah state lawmakers should get a pay raise for the first time in four years.
The Legislative Compensation Commission made the recommendation last week, calling the raises overdue, the Salt Lake Tribune reported . State lawmakers have not increased their pay since 2013.
The commission also suggested paying lawmakers for more days each year, stating that they often work days for free.
The commission proposed raising legislative pay from $273 daily to $285, while boosting the number of paid days from 60 a year to 65.
Commission member Matthew Bell, a former Weber County commissioner, said lawmakers were provided a couple of avenues to make the raises happen while keeping public criticism down.
An option the commission recommended is for the lawmakers to pursue the pay raise but not the additional days paid.
Commission member Diane Christensen said the “optics might be better” that way because members could argue it simply pays for some of the many days they now spend on legislative business without pay.
If Utah’s part-time legislators accept both suggestions, their pay would rise from $16,380 to $18,525 a year, up $2,145 or 13 percent.
If lawmakers accept just the daily rate increase, pay would go up by $720 a year, or 4.4 percent. And if they raise just the number of days paid, pay would rise $1,365 a year, or 8.3 percent.
Legislators may accept, reject or reduce one or both of the recommendations, but they are prohibited from increasing them, Bell said.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com