West Virginia

Citizens pay group recommends pay increase for state lawmakers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission recommends a $10,000 pay rise to state legislators.

Mike Hall

The commission, which meets every four years under the state constitution, recently passed a resolution recommending raising the annual salary of lawmakers to West Virginia’s per capita income. Commission chairman Mike Hall, a former state legislature, told MetroNews that’s about $30,000.

“In cooperation with others and the Legislature, the Legislature has expressed an interest in tying their income to some sort of standard,” Hall said. “The only standard they liked was the per capita income, which is just over $30,000 this year.”

Lawmakers are currently paid $20,000 a year. You haven’t received a raise since 2009. The constitution provides that a salary increase approved by the legislature does not come into effect until after the election of the next legislative session. If lawmakers agree to an increase in this session, the pay rise will not take effect until January 2025, after the next legislature is sworn in.

Read MORE resolution here

According to Hall, the Compensation Commission recommends adjusting the pay rate every five years based on per capita pay.

He said it’s been 13 years since salaries have increased and costs have risen.

“I don’t think it’s outrageous, but I don’t know what they’re going to do,” Hall said.

The next step is entirely up to the legislature. Members of the House of Representatives and Senate do not have to follow the recommendations. They can also choose which ones they want to adopt. The recommendations apply until the next meeting of the Compensation Committee in four years.

House and Senate leaders are not yet saying what they might do.

“The Commission has made some interesting recommendations, they usually give us numbers, but these proposals are in a slightly different format that we should consider,” House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, told MetroNews. “We need to discuss that with the members, which we haven’t started on yet.”

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw

Senate leadership was reluctant to comment on the recommendations when MetroNews came forward. You can speak when the bill is introduced and/or the Finance Committee is considering the resolution.

Hall predicted lawmakers would be sensitive to what the public thinks about a raise for themselves.

“This is a part-time legislature and this is the kind of issue that attracts public interest. You will be aware of that,” Hall predicted.

The Compensation Commission also recommends that some legislators increase the daily rates. Those living more than 50 miles from the capital would receive $200 a day. That was $131 a day. The price remains at $85 per day for those from areas closer to Charleston.

Pay for monthly interim meetings would increase from $150 to $250 per day, and lawmakers would be paid for all interim days, not just the days when meetings are scheduled.

The commission approved its resolution on January 23.

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