St. Louis Public Radio News
3:27 am
Thu January 29, 2009

Mo. Senate kills pay raises for elected officials

Jefferson City, MO – It's now official: Missouri lawmakers, most judges and other state elected officials will not be getting pay raises this year.

The final nail in the coffin was the 33 to one vote today by the State Senate to reject the salary increases. The House voted overwhelmingly against the raises earlier this week.

State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) cast the lone "no" vote:

"We're not talking about, you know, big pay raises, we're talking about cost of living increases," Bray said.

Bray suggested that the attitude that politicians don't deserve a raise shouldn't extend to judges and hoped they wouldn't extend further still to ordinary state employees.

But Minority Floor Leader Victor Callahan (D, Independence) told fellow senators that accepting a pay raise would send the wrong message at the wrong time.

"Fundamental to this country, whether we are at war, or in recession, or in times of economic downturn, (where) we find ourselves now, we are all in this together, and we need to remember that," Callahan said.

The raises were set by a citizens' commission, and would have automatically taken effect Saturday.