Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Center for Rural Affairs Supports Amendment One

Lack of State Senator pay increase since 1988 will deter good people from running for office.

The Center for Rural Affairs is a member of a far ranging coalition, chaired by University of Nebraska Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen, to support Amendment One, a Constitutional amendment on Nebraska’s primary ballot May 9, 2006 that would increase State Senators’ salaries. Other Yes on Amendment members include both the Republican and Democratic parties, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Nebraska AFL-CIO.

Amendment One would increase the pay of State Senators from the current $12,000 annually to $21,000 beginning in 2007. Each year after that, the salary would increase based on the change in the consumer price index, but will never exceed a four percent annual increase.

“Amendment One addresses a key issue facing citizen government in Nebraska. Not only have we not addressed this issue since 1988 when the salaries were raised from $4,800 to $12,000 annually, but it is one of the lowest in the country and deters good people from serving in state government,” said Doug Kristensen, UNK Chancellor, former Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature and Chair of the Yes for Amendment One Committee.

The legislative salary increase will cost each Nebraskan 16 cents per year.

Why is Amendment One good for Nebraska?

• It is important to pay Senators enough so they can serve and support their families.
• State Senators’ pay should be commensurate with their responsibility.
• Amendment One reinforces the idea of a representative government by addressing a major financial obstacle many Nebraskans have to consider before running for the legislature.
• State Senators do not receive health insurance or any other benefits and only receive a per diem for expenses and mileage when the legislature is in session. When senators travel and meet with constituents in their districts, they receive no compensation.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

7 Comments:

  • At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it is about time that senators got a raise - nobody but rich people can afford to serve in the senate now and that leaves the rest of us unrepresented

     
  • At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It looks like amendment one is going down tonight, I hope not, but it looks that way right now.

     
  • At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While I agree they need a raise, from what I know it includes a yearly rate increase, that's when we get in trouble, unless it's performance based, then I would jump all over it.

     
  • At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    well, amendment went down in flames, so i guess the Nebraska Unicameral will continue to be a playground for those who are wealthy enough to spend tens of thousands of dollars for an office that only pays $12,000 per year

    in response to the previous post - if Senate salaries had included the same annual increas formula since 1988 (when the salaries were increased from $4,800 to $12,000) Senator would be making $21,000 and a little change right now. In other words, it would have solved the problem and they would never get more than 4% per year, no matter how inflationary the economy. How is that a bad deal - i mean, how WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN a bad deal?

     
  • At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was the previous post about the pay raise and automatic increases. Really, I wish they got a raise, but my point is a little unfairly targeted at our state senators. We need to start somewhere, I wish this idea would be enforced and work in all levels of government. Being performane based would get more done, real issues, real problems, and real answers. I'm in ag expected to continue becoming more and more effecient on less and less hardly affording health care myself. But, like everyone, everything I use goes up and up, on less and less. I am not niave enough to think this will work with the feds, they get half of what they make under the table anyways. But the days of automatic increases for all government entities excluding our military should be reviewed.

     
  • At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    would that the days of inflation were behind us as well

    BTW, I responded to your earlier post.

    I don't mean to argue with the previous poster, I understand the points and perhaps share some of the concerns. I do not understand exactly how a merit, or performance, based salary increase for Senators would work. Who would decide that they deserved it, or that they didn't?

     
  • At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, this is alot easier said than done. However, the only real way way to make headroom is to provide our officials with a plan. A call to action so to speak. Rural America needs help with many issues of every segment of the population. We need to put the issues in thier faces with good groups like the "Center" and others, a plan or plans that have a great deal of support across the state, can get headlines, has good research, and also will help keep some of the focus on the rest of the state and thier senators instead of just the highly populated segment. The voters would still have to decide if they deserved it, how they voted or supported a bill or plan and so on. I feel they'd have a much better payscale if we can hold them up to these issues personally, and again we would need groups like this one to help keep all the information up to date for the voters.

     

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