Citizen Panel: Lawmakers Deserve 2 Percent Pay Hike

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State lawmakers will get a 2 percent salary increase in 2013 if a citizen panel has its way.

Idaho lawmakers currently make $16,116 per year, and a 2 percent increase would raise the annual income to $16,438.

The Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reports that a six-member committee voted to recommend the pay hike to legislators, who haven't received an increase since 2007. Earlier this year, lawmakers granted a 2 percent salary increase for State of Idaho workers who were "performing to standards."

Unless the Idaho House and Senate rejects the citizens panel recommendation, the pay increase would automatically take effect next year. Three years ago, the same panel recommended a 5 percent salary increase for legislators but lawmakers rejected the effort.

Additionally, the citizen panel voted to put tighter restrictions on per-diem compensation for legislators who keep a second residence near the Statehouse. The Spokesman-Review reports that under the new plan, extra reimbursement would only go to lawmakers whose primary residence is outside of Ada County yet maintain a second residence inside Ada during the legislative session.

In 2011, the Associated Press reported that Republican Sens. John McGee and Curt McKenzie were pulling down the extra per diem while living less than 30 miles from the Capitol. Caldwellite McGee collected $122 a month while sleeping at his parents' home in Boise, and Nampan McKenzie also took extra cash while sleeping on a couch at his Boise law office.

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