Ohio lawmakers are discussing giving themselves and other elected officials a salary raise — their first pay hike in a decade.
State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, is pitching a plan to give lawmakers and statewide executive officers a “catch up” raise amounting to three-quarters of the consumer price index for each of the past 10 years. He calls a “diet COLA” plan.
Sheriffs, prosecutors and judges, who received 5 percent pay hikes for each of four years, would start receiving the scaled down cost of living allowances when their pay increases expire in 2019. Other countywide officers, boards of elections members and township officers received 5 percent raises in each of two years and they would immediately go on the diet COLA, Seitz said.
“There seems to be widespread support for this concept. Obviously, the devil is in the details,” Seitz said.
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. Likewise, pay hikes for other elected officials would take effect in their next terms — January for most.
Lawmakers make a base pay of $60,584 and earn more if they hold leadership or committee chairmanship or vice chairmanship posts. Seitz said the diet COLA would bump the base pay to a little over $69,000 per year for lawmakers.
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.
Any pay raise plan would need to win approval in the House and Senate by Dec. 19, which is the last scheduled voting session.
Seitz noted that the state minimum wage has been indexed to inflation since 2006 and the Internal Revenue Service recently eliminated a tax write-off that had been available to state legislators.
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