As in years past, Utah lawmakers will once again consider raising their own part-time salaries.
Dale Zabriskie, chairman of the Legislative Compensation Commission, says his group, after surveying the pay of lawmakers from surrounding states and the United States as a whole, recommends a $35-a-day pay hike.Utah's 104 House and Senate members now make $65 a day while they are in their 45-day general session and the same salary during the monthly interim committee meetings the rest of the year.
Urban legislators also receive $25 a day in expenses, while rural legislators get $75 a day in expenses. All lawmakers get mileage if they drive their own vehicle to and from the Capitol. On average, lawmakers make about $5,000 a year.
Zabriskie's recommendation places legislators at $100 a day in salary. The expenses and mileage stay the same. Legislators adjust those rates as needed.
The raise would place the average pay at about $7,000 a year in salary and expenses, Zabriskie said.
Legislators haven't given themselves a pay raise since 1983, when the current $65 a day rate took effect.
Last year, lawmakers considered and rejected in their caucuses a $10 a day pay raise.
"The feeling was that it wasn't worth it to go through all the hassle of the debate for only $10 a day. They deserve a pay raise. (Utah lawmakers' pay) ranks sixth among eight Western states and 46th among all 50 states," said Zabriskie.