State Representative Chris Reykdal Takes a Stand on Legislative Pay

first_imgFacebook621Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Washington House DemocratsState Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) is donating the difference between his cost of living increase and other state workers to charity.State Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) announced that he will donate to charity any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) provided to Legislators in excess of the COLA provided to teachers, state employees, long-term care workers, and other state collectively bargained agreements.“I deeply respect the individual decision each lawmaker will make regarding their COLA,” Reykdal said. “These are friends and fellow public servants. They often live away from their families and their communities for several months in order to serve in our citizen legislature.“There are 147 passionate and deserving legislators that serve, but speaking only for myself and as a former classroom teacher, I think it is inappropriate to accept any percentage greater than what our teachers, state employees, and other public servants receive for a COLA.”In 1986, the voters of Washington adopted a constitutional amendment taking away the salary setting authority of the Legislature. Instead, The Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials is tasked with setting salaries of legislators, statewide office holders, and judges.The independent commission approved an 11.2% COLA for legislators over two years.“It’s good policy to have a citizens’ commission doing this. Legislators should not set their own salaries,” Reykdal said. “But, after six years of frozen pay for our educators and state employees that choose a life of public service, they should be first in line now that the economy is recovering.”Reykdal will donate the difference between the Legislature’s COLA (expected to be 8% beginning in September) and the COLA provided to teachers, state employees, and other bargaining groups as determined in the final operating budget to the Children’s Fund Charity.“This fund reimburses teachers who spend money out of their own pockets to buy meals, jackets, shoes, glasses, and other necessities for their students,” Reykdal said. “Educators are heroes who deserve substantially more compensation than we currently provide. They should not have to be on our state’s social safety net at the same time.”“At this point we are working hard to get our teachers and public employees a 3% COLA in the first year. If that holds, I will donate the difference, 5% of my legislative salary, to the Children’s Fund Charity. And I will continue to do so in perpetuity until teachers and state employees achieve 11.2% COLAs.”last_img

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