Kansas legislator proposes salary increase; ‘we should be paid significantly better’

? A state legislator Thursday pushed forward a bill to more than double legislative pay during the session, but reduce the retirement package that legislators get.

“While we are here serving the citizens of Kansas, we should be paid significantly better,” said state Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro.

But, he said, once legislators have left the Legislature, they shouldn’t get “the sweet deal” they receive under the state retirement system.

Although serving part-time, legislators are able to annualize their salary for pension calculations. Peck said his bill would disallow that.

Currently, legislators receive $88.66 per calendar day for service during a legislative session.

Peck’s bill would tie legislative pay to 80 percent of the average daily salary of Kansas teachers. Based on that, the legislative pay would be $204 per day.

Off-session, legislators receive $354.15 bi-weekly. Peck’s bill would not change that.

Currently, a legislator who is not in a leadership position is paid about $14,708 per year. Under Peck’s bill that would increase to approximately $25,000 per year.

In addition to their daily pay during the session, legislators also receive $129 per calendar day during the session for subsistence.

Over the years, numerous proposals have been floated to raise legislative pay, but fear of political retribution at the polls have snuffed them out.

Peck’s proposal, House Bill 2740, wouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, which he said meant the pay raise was for future legislators.

Concerning the bill, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said: “Intriguing concept.”

Peck responded, saying, “I look forward to passing this out of committee.” Most of the committee members laughed.