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Voting no on Amendment 72006-11-05 21:03:16rbuckle

The commission already recommends a pay schedule to the legislature. The commission will continue to exist whether the amendment passes or not. What the amendment does is take out the phrase "subject to appropriation" which means that whatever the commission recommends must stand appropriated (except in the limited instances where the whole salary schedule is disapproved by a 2/3 vote). So in tight budget years the legislature is stuck with the commission's recommendations without regard to the many other priorities the state has. The current system while not perfect has worked okay. Legislators and judges got 4% and 5% annual increases throughout most of the late 90s when the state was financially in good shape. Since 2001, when the state's finances have not been as good there has only been one small increase. (I can't remember exactly but I think it was between one and two percent) The change would allow for more frequent and greater pay increases which I personally disagree with. If the change would have been in place in 1996, the legislature would have gotten in the 1997 budget slightly more than a 30% increase. I don't have anything against judges or legislators but I do express the opinion of many good government types (on both sides of the aisle) with some experience in Jeff City that have strong feelings about the amendment. Despite all that, I would be less than fair if I didn't say that a few of us see decent arguments for the amendment. I think everyone of us feels quite strongly that the ballot language is deceptive and that the legislature and the judiciary should be honest about what is going on. It is already state law to deny pensions to felons. A person that walks into the ballot box is going to see this language and vote for the amendment and then be frankly pissed when they find out what is really going on.