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Cut in lawmakers' pay is OK, in Jerry Brown's opinion

The state attorney general today said a citizens commission acted within its powers when it decided to slash pay for state lawmakers by 18% last summer, rejecting arguments of legislative leaders who had challenged the panel’s authority.

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said in a broad legal opinion that the state Constitution allows the California Citizens Compensation Commission, which is appointed by the governor, to reduce the salaries of legislators and other elected officials in the middle of their terms.

The commission had previously been told by an attorney for the state personnel department that salary cuts could only be applied to those elected in the future, so the panel voted to cut salaries for those elected starting next year.

Charles Murray, the Los Angeles businessman who chairs the commission said he would ask the state controller to implement the pay reduction Dec. 7

Brown pointed to the voters' 1990 approval of Proposition 112, which requires the commission to "adjust the annual salaries of state officers" each year. "Any other interpretation would require assuming against all evidence that the voters in 1990 intended mid-term annual adjustments to only go up and never down, even in the face of a faltering economy and huge budget deficits," Brown wrote to legislative leaders.

His opinion did not address a challenge to the commission’s 18% cut in legislators’ per diem and car allowances.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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Comments () | Archives (25)


Good job. These lawmakers should be paid the lowest of the low.

Someone bring out the scissors, time to start cutting. What is disturbing is this comment in the article:

"The commission had previously been told by an attorney for the state personnel department that salary cuts could only be applied to those elected in the future, so the panel voted to cut salaries for those elected starting next year"

Let's ask this commission who was the attorney that provided this bit of information. I am NOT an attorney (and English is my 2nd language) but according to Proposition 112:

"adjust the annual salaries of state officers" each year. "

Seems pretty cut and dry. That "Attorney for the State Personnel Department" should take the bar over again, why is he working for the state when he doesn not know CA Laws and Regulations.

Who gave him that job?
What is his name?

Can someone find out? =0)

FINALY a good move by the State. I welcome this as GREAT news.

Oh Brutus! Et Tu Brutus? Et Tu? lol, talk about taking a difficult position? oh man!I mean really, the legislators sit back and make decisions that affect the rest of us all day long, but they are not used to some one else making those sort of decisions against them are they?

Finally, a step in the correct direction!!!!!!!!

So, Mr. Wright what will you do now? resign?

For the first time I agree with Jerry Brown, let cut the salaries and the free travel expenses they have

Let's have these lawmakers' pay tied to performance like the teachers. Check the "roll call" and cut pay for legislators that missed votes. Ditching work? No pay! Have raises tied to how well they balance out our state budget. How about some accountability to the PEOPLE (citizens commission) that they supposedly represent and work for...

The State Legislature should have been cut last year so, congrats now how about the LA City Council Can we take an axe, knife, Scissors, anything that cuts to their Salaries for no other reason than incompetence and arrogance.

Let's take this great idea a bit further-pass a proposition whereby no legislator, governor included, get paid until the budget is passed.....and not reimburse them if they go beyond the statutory time (June 31st). If they had a vested interest in completion of their duties, maybe they would meet the deadline, knowing after that date they 'worked' for free.

That is over due I agree; no budget, no pay. When so many are losing jobs; running out of unempolyment and still can't find work; and our youth and their families are paying outragoues fees to become educated, it is very overdue. They don't have produce a single thing to get paid, they just raise taxes. I am about taxed out-I am tax and insurance poor! I think that politicans should work for free until they completely fix the budget and we are in the black.For people that do produce things, we have to live within our means. We don't get to operate in the red and stay in charge of our companies. It is time to revap the whole legislative representation. None are fit as leaders and the voice of Californians!

you just got my vote for governor jerry...again!!!

This is one more reason that the initiative that would cut the salaries of legislators and make them part-time is totally unnecessary. As the AG confirmed, the Citizens Commission already has the power to slash salaries. It took a considered approach rather than the meat axe as required in the initiative. There's an old saying that 'you get what you pay for.' If we keep cutting salaries, the only people that can afford to serve in the legislature will be the super wealthy. We're likely to lose the diversity that has allowed the legislature to look like the rest of California.

Let's get crazy with the pay. The representative's pay is the median after tax income of your district. People loose their jobs, your pay goes down. You raise taxes, your pay goes down. You create jobs, your pay goes up.

Secondary to that are the other arguments said before. You miss votes, you loose pay. You don't get a budget in, you loose pay.

Also put in a bonus. You get a budget in early, $5,000 each. You spend less than tax revenues, $10,000 each. You spend more, -$10,000 each. Jobs grow, $5,000 each. Education scores go up, $5,000 each. No one in the legislature gets indited, $50,000 each (don't worry, we will never have to pay that).

Hmmm sorry Maviglio but this so-called diversity you speak of has not given us a balanced budget. It does not give us a legislature that works for the people. It hasn't brought responsible citizens to the forefront. What does it matter if they look like us, if what they do can only be compared to is a Kindergartener finger painting.

Let ye who whine become next election's swine...if they challenge this there should be a special election to replace every last one of them. Some are already talking about going to court over it. Obscenely porcine.
Thank you, Mr. Brown, for having shed some reality onto those who are supposed to be serving us. Cut that pork!

It's about time. Now how about ending the per diem. I don't get a free car or gas or paid extra just for showing up for work. That's what a salery is. You come to work and you get paid. But if you don't do a good job you should get fired!!!!!

Where's the petition that I can sign? Let's start with the governor and our esteemed mayor "Villaraigrossa" A couple of hacks in my opinion should never again hold any kind of office in this state (or this country)!

18%? my butt! try 30 %. they only are part time workers, oh sorry for the last worker comment. cause they are seat warmers. You idiot's at the state level are messing up this state, hell people in georgia state officials got more sense than you. go look at they're prison systems. so people in LA or just screwed while state inmates are living large. hell maybe I'll try to reserve me a spot on deathrow. so i can have my own tv, cd's, dvd's, phone calls. medical, dental and hell no co-pay let's do it.

Its about time. That is a small step. Now lets pass a Proposition that stops the payment of their salary if they don't balance the budget or reduce their salary if they continue to borrow by using bonds to pay for our debt.

Perhaps we citizens should pool ourselves and become the "Constituent Lobby". As much as I hate lobbyists and their entire idea of political prostitution/bribery hand in hand with not only our local representatives, but state and federal as well, it is high time we constituents be not only represented, but protected as well. Elected officials at all levels are supposedly "duty bound" to represent their constituents. History and daily experience proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that our elected officials represent only those who contribute to their lame and tiresome campaigns and not for the principles upon which our country was bloodily founded. Lobbying and lobbyists should be considered criminal and treated as such. Enough underhanded corruption.
Check it out and get in line, L.A. City district attorney Trutinich and sub-ordinate Cooley - you're next on our scope...

@ Nick - Dude, you tell it like it is! Pure and simple.

A good start, but not enough! I would propose that the salary of a legislator be set at his/her private sector salary before joining the legislature, subject to a sensible overall cap. This way, individuals are drawn to the legislature for public service, and NOT a lucrative raise with ridiculous benefits, while at the same time preserving their pre-political lifestlye and family budget, subject to a sensible overall salary cap of say, $90k.

Wow. I thought I never see the day when the state legislature gets the salaries cut. Good call, Jerry! Leaders got to sacrifice too!


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