Recently, the Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission voted to raise the pay of legislators by 67%. Although that is a simple sentence, what transpired was anything but simple. It involved commissioners leaving or being removed by the Governor as well as a meeting being held one day after the appointment of five brand new commissioners. Their meeting lasted 15 minutes. It doesn’t end there. Even though the legislature had already passed a bill to reject the proposed salary increase, the Governor vetoed that legislation thereby allowing the pay raises to take effect unless additional action occurs. I am appalled. This type of process should never happen in a society that values the democratic process.
On Tuesday, March 21, the House Majority sent a letter to the Senate asking the Senate to join the House for a joint session Wednesday afternoon to override the Governor’s veto. The Senate declined to meet.
Let me be clear, I will continue to work to reject the proposed salary increases regardless of the roadblocks placed along the way.
On Monday, March 27, I will introduce a bill in the Legislature to reject the proposed 67% pay raise for Legislators as well as the rest of the Commission’s recommendations. Our State needs a strong fiscal plan, and now is not the time to increase salaries for legislators. We need to focus our efforts on our economy, education and workforce development issues, not our own pay. Please join me in supporting legislative action to reject the 67% pay increase for legislators.
Justin Ruffridge represents District 7 in the Alaska State House.