By Bob Katzen, Beacon Hill Roll Call

JAN. 7, 2015 (STATE HOUSE) – Gov. Deval Patrick, on his last full day in office Wednesday, announced that the salary of the 200 members of the
Legislature will be frozen for the 2015-2016 legislative session that began Wednesday. The freeze will leave in place the current $60,032 base salary of each senator and representative. Patrick, in a letter to outgoing Treasurer Steven Grossman said he regrets this outcome. “As you know, I believe that an adjustment in base compensation for legislators and constitutional officers is warranted,” he wrote.

Patrick was required under the state constitution to determine by Wednesday the amount of a pay raise or cut that state legislators would receive for the 2015-2016 session. All Massachusetts governors are obligated to increase or decrease legislative salaries biennially under the terms of a constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 1998. The amendment, approved by a better than two-to-one margin, requires legislative salaries to be “increased or decreased at the same rate as increases or decreases in the median household income for the Commonwealth for the preceding two-year period, as ascertained by the governor.”

Patrick noted, “Applying the same methodology I last used (in 2013), there will be no increase or decrease in base compensation.”

This freeze comes on the heels of an $1,100 pay cut for the 2013-2014 legislative session that that ended Wednesday and a $306 pay cut for the 2011-2012 session. Prior to that, legislators’ salaries had been raised every two years since the $46,410 base pay was first raised under the constitutional amendment in 2001. The frozen $60,032 salary means legislative salaries have been raised $13,622, or 29 percent, since the mandated salary adjustment became part of the state constitution.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, both Democrats, also receive a $35,000 bonus for their service – boosting their salaries to $95,032. Republican House Minority Leader Bradley Jones and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr receive a $22,500 bonus for their service – boosting their salaries to $82,532.

Over the next few weeks, DeLeo, Rosenberg, Jones and Tarr will choose their leadership teams and also appoint dozens of members to committee chair, vice chair and other leadership positions. At that time, many legislators will see their base pay boosted by bonuses ranging from $7,500 to $25,000.

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