Legislators debate pay raise
By: George Sousouris
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: A 3.2% pay increase for Rhode Island state legislators took effect on July 1, and in the weeks since, a steady stream of Senators and Representatives have come out in rejection of the raise. Over a dozen legislators have now stated that they will not personally accept the pay increase, with most citing a poor economy and private sector pay cuts as reasons for elected officials to cut back as well.
This growing list is crossing party lines, with Democrats like Jan Malik, Marc Cote, and Rene Menard joining Republicans Dennis Algiere, Dawson Hodgson, and Doreen Costa, among others. Independent Edward O'Neill declined a raise for the second straight year stating, "Given the pay cuts and pension reductions facing many taxpayers I cannot accept any pay increase for the privilege of serving my constituents." By comparison, last year's pay increase was more modest, at 1.6%.