Big Savings With Part-Time Leg.

Katy Grimes: Limiting the Legislature to only 95 days each year and $18,000 per year salaries would save the state tens of millions of dollars per year, according to a new report by the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Currently the full-time Legislature costs the state $256 million annually for “legislative expenses.” Most legislators are paid $95,291 per year. They receive reimbursement for travel costs, “per diem” payments for additional living expenses while in session, and “other expenses” incurred while carrying out legislative business.

If voters approve a part-time Legislature, salaries would be reduced to $1,500 per month totaling only $18,000 per year. And with a limitation of only 95 days each year in session, travel and per diem costs would be dramatically reduced.

The LAO estimates that just the salary reductions would save the state $9.2 million annually, and the other cost savings would run into “tens of millions of dollars” annually.

However, the wild card is the “future actions” of the Governor, the Legislature, the Treasurer and Controller, according to the LAO. The summary of the report is unclear:

The measure would have the following fiscal effect:

  • Reduction in state legislative expenses for Member salaries, travel and living expenses, and staff costs—potentially in the tens of millions of dollars per year. Actual reduction would depend on future actions of the Legislature and the Governor.
  • Reduced state spending or increased state revenues in some years. Over time, the net fiscal effect of this provision is unknown and would depend on future actions of the Legislature, Governor, State Treasurer, and State Controller.

In this Legislature, with this Governor, “future actions” could mean anything, despite the will of the voters.

I say throw caution to the wind and go for it – what have we voters got to lose except 2,300 annual bills that only impose more taxes and regulations, growing public pensions and government, government waste, unemployment, global warming regulations, nanny laws, business-killing laws, and fewer civil liberties and rights? The only thing we have to fear… is more of our expanding state government.

JAN. 23, 2012

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  1. Barb
    Barb 23 January, 2012, 15:41

    Interesting stats:

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  2. Barb
    Barb 23 January, 2012, 15:48

    Most populated states:

    CA 40 Senators/931,349 residents; 80 assembly/465,674 residents = $95,291 per year and $141.86 per diem
    NY 62 senators//312,550 residents; 150 assembly/129,187 residents = $79,500 per year and $171 full time per diem
    TX 31 senators/811,147 residents; 150 respresentatives/167,637 residents = $7200 per year an $150 per dim.

    Texas is part time leg. and CA, NY are full time!

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  3. Barb
    Barb 23 January, 2012, 15:57

    I would be remiss not to mention that California has the highest budget deficit in the union at $21.3 billion with Illinois coming in second.

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  4. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 23 January, 2012, 22:39

    Good stuff Barb – I’ve written about the part time legislature before and am an advocate: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2011/09/15/part-time-legislature-could-save-ca/
    -Katy

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