Sen. Kane Votes To Cut Legislative Pay To Help Balance State Budget

January 30, 2009

“How can we ask others to sacrifice if we’re not willing to take the first step?”

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) said he believes Connecticut residents were disappointed when legislators failed to cut their own pay, along with the salaries of other high ranking state officials, as part of the budget deficit mitigation plan adopted by the General Assembly earlier this month.

“Connecticut has serious fiscal problems and it is safe to predict that Governor Rell’s budget address on February 4th is going to include proposals for major sacrifices from everyone. The General Assembly missed a golden opportunity to lead by example when rejecting Republican amendments to cut legislators’ pay as part of the most recent deficit mitigation plan,” said Senator Kane.

“How can we ask others to sacrifice if we’re not willing to take the first step,” asked Senator Kane, a member of the Appropriations Committee charged with overseeing development of the spending side of the state budget.

Senator Kane joined all other Republican Senators in voting to cut the salaries of legislators, along with high ranking state officials, by 10 percent as part of the most recent state budget mitigation plan. The Senate rejected the Republican amendment along an almost party line vote. The House of Representatives also rejected a Republican pay cut amendment.

“Cutting the salaries of legislators and other high ranking state officials, including the Governor, by 10 percent through the end of this fiscal year would have saved more than $571,000. Abolishing our transportation allowance would have saved an additional $425,000, while eliminating travel and travel related reimbursements for legislators and legislative employees would have saved an additional $255,000 for the rest of this fiscal year. Also, we proposed eliminating unsolicited mailings from legislators, which would have saved the taxpayers $675,000 through the end of this fiscal year,” said Senator Kane, noting that the salary cuts, ban on unsolicited legislative mailings and the elimination of the legislature’s transportation and travel allowances would have been in effect through June 30, 2011.

In addition to legislators and the Governor, those who would have been affected by the Republican Senators’ proposed 10 percent salary cut include the Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of the State, Comptroller, state agency commissioners and executive directors of boards and commissions. If adopted, the Republican Senators’ amendment would have saved taxpayers $1,926,013 for this fiscal year and $5,287,430 for each of the next two fiscal years.

“Connecticut is facing a nearly $1 billion deficit for this fiscal year, and a deficit of at least $6 billion over the next two years. People are out of work, businesses are closing and, frankly, the General Assembly is going to have to make some very serious, very difficult decisions in the coming weeks. Sacrifices will be required of all of us if we are to get through this. Adopting the Republican amendment to cut legislators’ pay earlier this month would have been an excellent first step,” said Senator Kane.