- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2013

Call it an early Christmas gift. Lawmakers in California — already the highest paid of all state legislatures — have just received a pay boost of $5,000.

That’s despite the lagging economy and ongoing state financial woes. The Washington Post reported the California Citizens Compensation Commission decided on the salary hike, and starting Dec. 1, lawmakers will see their checks increase from $90,526 to $95,291.

The CCCC, an independent body, said the state’s been bringing in enough money to justify the raise.

The pay raise reverses some pay cuts the legislators have experienced in recent years, in line with sluggish revenue collections. The Post reported that in 2007, lawmakers in the state made $116,208. In 2009, the CCCC started reducing salaries — along with political perks and benefits, like per diem pay levels.

Still, even cut, their per diem pay is nothing to sneeze at, with most lawmakers pulling in $141 each day they’re in session — up to $30,000 a year. And that’s tax-free, above and beyond their salaries, The Post said.

For legislators, California’s the place to be. Pennsylvania and New York lawmakers are second and third, respectively, in terms of paying the highest for the position — but they’re still thousands of dollars less than what the Golden State gives. The Post reported that Pennsylvania politicos who serve in the legislature make $83,801 a year, while New York legislators draw $79,500.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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