Pay raise for Ohio lawmakers added to bill to help families of police, firefighters

Lawmakers put a pay raise for elected officials — including themselves — into legislation that would provide health care benefits for the widows and children of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

The House Finance Committee amended Senate Bill 296 on Thursday to include a pay bump for lawmakers — their first pay hike in a decade.

The proposal calls for lawmakers receiving a 4 percent pay increase in 2020, 3 percent in 2021 and 1.75 percent each year between 2022 to 2028. Their current base pay of $60,584 would increase to $73,167 by 2028. Stipends for leadership and committee chairmanship posts would also be increased.

Mike Weinman, lobbyist for the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, said “We hope the pay raise isn’t a poison pill” that kills off support for the benefits going to widows and orphans.

Legislators may only vote on pay raises for future lawmakers, not themselves. So a pay hike vote now would take effect for the next General Assembly, which convenes in January. State senators who were not up for re-election in November would not be eligible for the pay hike.

Currently, Ohio lawmakers are the sixth highest paid state legislators in the country, according to a 2016 survey conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The governor is paid $148,854 while other statewide officials are paid $109,962. The governor’s pay would increase to $154,248 and other statewides would see their annual pay go to $113,947.

Judicial salaries would increase as well. The Ohio Supreme Court chief justice post would pay $183,450, up from $174,700.

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