Georgia Senate Bill 81 to increase state legislators pay

Senate Bill 81 to increase state legislators pay

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A bill in the Georgia Senate could steeply increase state legislators pay.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 81 said they want state legislators salaries to reflect the annual median household income in the state of Georgia. Senate Bill 81 could increase state legislators pay from just over $17,000 to more than $56,000.

The original sponsor of this bill said their current salary just isn’t right.

“17,3[00] doesn’t mirror what we are worth in terms of our time and effort to come serve from all over the state to come to Atlanta to deliberate in this body,” said Georgia State Senator Valencia Seay.

State Senator Ed Harbison, who’s district includes Columbus, is a co-sponsor of this bill and said legislators in other states make much more than Georgia state lawmakers.

“I think we are number six in the lowest paid in the state of Georgia," Harbison said, "yet our population is at 12 million.”

Harbison said each state determines what their lawmakers receive as salary, but Seay said she followed another state’s precedent for this bill.

“So I modeled this legislation after Alabama,” Seay said, "when Georgia is following Alabama, Houston, we have a problem.”

“I guess the cost of living demands that everyone should get a raise but it shouldn’t be that much," John Brown of Columbus said. "I guess $30,000, that’s a good round number.”

Shawn Parks of Columbus said, “Well I got a 5 percent cost of living raise on my disability this year so maybe they can deal with that too.”

The money for the raise would come from the state’s annual budget.

“If the great state of Georgia revenues go down, then the salaries for the general assembly will go down, and if it goes up, then the salaries of the general assemblies would go up,” Seay said.

Harbison said the road to this bill becoming law is a long one, but Seay hopes to have this passed by the end of the legislative session in April.

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