The House of Representatives debates legislation
The Connecticut legislators are paid a salary of $28,000. The state provides $5,500 yearly to senators and $4,500 to representatives for expenses they don’t have to document.
If Connecticut had kept the legislators’ salaries concurrent with the inflation rates, the legislators salaries would now be $35,500 — but they are not – they are still at $28,000. The Connecticut salaries for legislators were low 13 years ago — and they are even lower in buying power now. Over the past 13 years, inflation rates have totaled 27 percent, meaning that the salaries of $28,000 now have a real worth today of $20,500.
The Massachusetts legislature is considered “full time” and their legislators are considered to be giving 100 percent of their time to the business of the state. The Massachusetts legislators receive a salary of $62,500.
The Connecticut legislature is considered to be “part time” and the Connecticut legislators are considered to be giving 74 percent of their time to the state. Calculating what Connecticut salaries should be compared to Massachusetts, Connecticut salaries would be $46,250, however, Connecticut salaries are not anywhere near that amount — they are still at $28,000.
To calculate Connecticut legislative salaries another way, we can look at what their actual hourly rate of pay is. The Connecticut legislature is considered to be a “part time” legislature with legislators spending 74 percent of their time given to the workings of the state, and that represents 38 weeks of the 52-week year. With a five- day work week, that represents 190 work days. With a work day being eight hours, that amounts to 1,520 hours. Using those calculations, the Connecticut legislators are earning $18 an hour.
Because we know many legislators are called back during special sessions and because many have to work with their constituents at off legislative times — Connecticut legislators actually work more hours than those calculated and therefore the hourly wage of many legislators is probably even less than $18 an hour.
Whatever the fiscal issues Connecticut faces — 13 years is an unconscionable amount of time to not give our legislators a raise — especially when their salaries were low to begin with. To reiterate a point, calculating the inflation rates over the past 13 years, the legislators’ salary set 13 years ago at $28,000 is now worth $20,500. Something needs to be done.