Charitable with other people’s money — Arizona taxpayer’s, to be exact — Gov. Doug Ducey was unconstrained as he awarded generous salary increases, along with hefty bonuses, to his staff and administration appointees in 2016. The substantial pay hikes were extended to nearly four dozen state employees.
Ducey was equally magnanimous as he caved to the demands of striking REDsForED teachers who, in violation of their contractual agreements, abandoned approximately 840,000 Arizona students for a week as they followed a 24-year-old hip hop music teacher and avowed socialist Pied Piper. After initially rejecting their demands, Ducey acquiesced and gave them a 20% raise for their part time employment.
Where he draws the line, however, is with the per diem daily allowances for state legislators, which he just vetoed. There is no doubt the effort was a back door route to provide them a living wage, and it’s a shame they had to resort to such drastic measures as SB1558.
In 2013 we wrote, “AZ legislature: It’s not a “part time” job,” pointing out that Arizona legislators haven’t had a pay increase since 1998, when their salary was boosted from $15,000 to $24,000. In the intervening years, several ballot proposals to increase the annual salary to $30,000 have been nixed. Yet our legislators are entrusted with passing multi $billion state budgets and writing the laws that effect each and every state resident.
Due in large part to the relentless negative publicity hurled at Arizona’s Republican majority legislature in the past by the leftist daily newspaper, voters repeatedly rejected pay increases when they appeared on the ballot. With the newspaper on the skids, and readership in the tank, its negative influence has diminished.
The job is erroneously referred to as part time. But constituents rightly expect to have access to their state senators and representatives throughout the year. Numerous issues arise requiring legislators’ attention. Additionally, governors can, and do, call special sessions after the regular session has concluded.
Because the pay is so low, the legislature has become a haven for retirees, various “consultants,” housewives, and a plethora of school board members, who do not have to rely on the low legislative salary to support a family.
The job’s long hours, coupled with the abysmal pay, restricts many average Arizonans from participating in what was designed to be a citizen legislature. All leftists actually care about, however, is domination. That’s why the legislature has become a Democrat family legacy profession, with parents and children serving together or succeeding one another. Husbands and wives have been legislators. That familial institutionalism is newly exemplified by a Democrat brother and sister team. Alma Hernandez and Daniel Hernandez, Jr., were recently elected to the AZ House in adjacent districts.