Saturday, October 10, 2009

Should Elected Officials Take Pay Cuts?

John Lesinski, Democratic candidate in the 15th House of Delegates district, has proposed that legislators' pay be suspended until the economy improves. The suggestion is part of Lesinski's Business Plan that was recently posted to his website laying out ideas for cutting government waste, creating jobs, and rebuilding Virginia's economy.
Lesinski may be on to something with his suggestion about suspending the pay of members of the General Assembly while the Virginia budget is experiencing an extreme crunch. It gets to the idea of shared pain and shared responsibility. When there isn't enough corn to go around....
In the spirit of what Lesinski seeks, I'd suggest a modification. All elected officials of our state government should take pay reductions... not a total suspension of pay... by the same percentage that the budget has been cut. As the economy improves and funds are restored to the Virginia budget, pay would likewise be restored. All members of the General Assembly as well as the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General would be included. Perhaps top-level policy making appointees, for example the members of the Cabinet, should join in the shared sacrifice.
When state employees are losing jobs, when government services are cut, when citizens are hurting, those who make the decisions that affect so many lives must feel similar pain and bear some tangible responsibility. Kudos to John Lesinsik for laying this fresh idea on the table.

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