Do Pennsylvania legislators deserve $82,000 a year when Texas legislators get $7,200?
It’s kind of a trick question, since you have to read the fine print of lawmakers’ compensation to compare, but it comes up because Harrisburg lawmakers will get an automatic raise this week boosting their base pay to $82,026.
While it’s popular to regard any politician as hardly worth a bucket of spit, I believe that government officials ought to be paid a reasonable salary and expected to perform with competence and honesty.
We should aspire to getting people in both elected and appointed office with the talent to do well in life. While we can’t pay them what a big law firm might, we shouldn’t make public service something that no one with talent and education will be interested in.
The question of how to pay legislators is thoughtfully considered in this post by Doron Taussig of It’s Our Money. And he’ll show you a cool chart comparing legislators’ pay across the country.
On a different matter, the prospects for a chaotic, brokered Republican convention are considered in this interesting piece in Politico.com.
Turns out that the GOP changed some rules coming into this presidential cycle to discourage states from scheduling early, winner-take-all primaries, then let Florida violate the new rules.
The piece by Rob Riche and Elise Helgesen makes the case that you could end up with a Republican convention in which a great many delegates are encouraged and legally empowered to vote for whomever they want, leading to a more chaotic process than we’ve seen in years.
I’m always a little skeptical of these scenarios. I remember in the late stages of the 2008 Democratic primary season when some were reading the fine print of party rules and speculating that Obama delegates might bolt to Hillary Clinton, or vice versa.
It didn’t happen, of course, and it seems to me that Republicans in particular tend to rally round the party flag when an apparent winner emerges.
On the other hand, these are strange times, and the piece makes interesting reading. Both authors are associated with FairVote, a progressive non-profit that advocates for a wide range of electoral reforms.