House Republicans urge salary commission to forego legislator pay raises

In a letter to the state’s Salary Commission, House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt urged the board not to approve pay increases for state lawmakers this year. The request to forego salary increases for lawmakers was supported unanimously by the 35 members of the House Republican Caucus.

DeBolt asked the commission to weigh the state’s economic circumstances and the plight of Washington families when considering whether to boost salaries for elected officials.

“This session, the Legislature will be tasked with rebuilding our state’s economy and closing a multi-billion dollar deficit in the state operating budget,” DeBolt said in his letter to the commission. “As part of this effort, our caucus believes strongly that state government must make difficult choices and responsible decisions to hold the line on state spending. We cannot ask the taxpayers to bear a greater burden for the state’s own fiscal mismanagement, especially during these tough economic times.”

The Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials has constitutional authority to set pay for state lawmakers. The commission held hearings this week to accept public testimony. DeBolt’s letter was submitted today on behalf of the House Republican Caucus.

“As elected officials we intend to demonstrate our ownership in the challenges before us and share in the sacrifice that Washington families face,” DeBolt wrote. “For these reasons the House Republican Caucus respectfully requests that the Commission not approve salary increases for state lawmakers.”

Additional public hearings will be held on Feb. 17 in Vancouver, March 17 in Bellingham, April 23 in Richland, and May 19 in Tacoma. The Salary Commission is expected to render a decision on elected officials salaries in May.

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Washington State House Republican Communications