Jun 1 2006
07:37 am

Just days after killing a minimum wage increase for Tennessee workers, the Tennessee General Assembly voted to give themselves a 9.5% raise, nearly three times the raise voted for state employees. They also voted to increase the governor's pension by more than 83%, from $42K to $77K annually, and to raise their own pensions.

Aside from the obvious hypocrisy, there's a bit of irony in the fact that the legislator's raises were slipped in at the last minute. The reason given for killing the minimum wage increase was that the sponsors waited too long to introduce their bill and its amendments, which did not allow enough time for review by the judiciary committee. There was plenty of time to give themselves a raise, however, because giving yourself a raise apparently doesn't require any review. Tennessee working people would like to have jobs like that.

It should also be noted that GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Bryson was for the pension raise before he was against it, and in the end recorded a cowardly "abstaining" vote. Bold, decisive leadership, indeed.

UPDATE: CE Petro has more.

Brian A.'s picture

Tied to minimum wage

Yes, it would make matters simpler if legislator's compensation was tied to a state minimum wage.  But that's based on the faulty notion that lawmakers should be treated like everyone else.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

smalc's picture

I'm curious...

Has anyone ever tried to quantify the  number of hours per year the average rep or senator spends on the job? It would be interesting to see what there hourly wage is.

R. Neal's picture

Would you include campaign

Would you include campaign funds, leadership PAC "slush" funds, special-interest PAC dinners gifts and perks, and so forth?

B.'s picture

As a libertarian and an avid

As a libertarian and an avid reader of von Mises, Mayberry, and other proponents of Austrian economics, I applaud the decision.  

R. Neal's picture

I'm thinking B was kidding.

I'm thinking B was kidding. But maybe not.

Joe P.'s picture

Zero sense

I so no plausible reason for taxpayers to fund a lifetime retirement plan to a two-term or one-term governor. A small monthly stipend, limited to the amount they earned while in office, maybe. Maybe.

A retirement program for state employees who serve many years is far more reasonable. I was always (perhaps mistakenly) under the belief that serving in public office was never meant to be a lifetime job, but voters often seem to abdicate decision-making to a single individual until death and often beyond, offering the same job to their relatives.

Given that so many businesses are abandoning pension plans, perhaps the same approach should apply to government. How many of us, as employees, would prefer to set our raises and retirements?? 


AndrewIOP's picture

Knox County Officials


Did you know that the Knox County Mayor (Mike Ragsdale) and six to seven of his staffers make over $100,000 a year?

Did you know that Knox County buys a new vehicle (mostly SUVs) every two years for roughly 15 staffers.  Another 20 or so get vehicle allowances/stipends.

Did you know that these staffers get a yearly raise - usually about 3-5%?

Did you know that some staffers gain monetarily from County programs (i.e., Todd Cook, Director of Probation, gets a payment monthly from the company that operates the court mandated driver's education program)?

Did you know that other staffers who are supposed to be working full-time with Knox County have other "full-time" jobs (i.e., Tyler Harber works at National Strategies as a consultant, and Mike Arms works at SAIC in Oak Ridge as a Vice-President)? 

Don't believe me? Open-records law. Enough said.

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