Pressured Speaker Rescinds Raises

The state legislative leader who gave pay raises to key staffers staff despite the budget crunch has announced she's changed her mind.

After state workers were required to take unpaid days off and salary cuts this year to help the state make it through a multi-billion budget shortfall next year, more than 100 Assembly aides were told they would receive a 5 percent pay increase.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who initially had approved the pay increase, told Capitol Weekly the raises were overdue.

Bass had admitted it looked bad in tough times, but she told the website that she was concerned about retaining key staffers.

Then Bass switched gears, announcing Wednesday that she would rescind those pay raises.

Bass believed the raises had become a distraction from the campaign to pass six budget-related ballot measures in May, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In the special election, voters will decide whether to extend several recent tax increases for several more years to create a "rainy day fund" to help balance the state budget. Opponents of Prop 1A argue that "rainy day fund" will become a "slush fund" and want the budget process needs to me more transparent and accountable.


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In a time when many companies aren't giving any type of increase, not even 1 percent, some considered it outrageous that the state would give any pay hike, let alone a 5 percent one, to some staffers.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, vented to the Bee "How could they be so stupid? Did they think we wouldn't notice?" he told the paper. "I think it will absolutely hurt them at the polls."

Fifty-three of the aides had salaries exceeding $80,000 before the sweetener, including 33 whose pay topped $100,000, records show, the Sacramento Bee reported.

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