As you’re thinking about #okleg pay increases today, I’ve found it helpful to think about what kind of legislator you want at the Capitol, and then imagining whether they could quit their job for what Oklahoma pays lawmakers.
— Dale Denwalt (@denwalt) October 15, 2019
And whatever action the board takes today will not take effect until Nov. 2020, after the next election. That means no one will get a raise or see their pay cut ahead of or during the next legislative session. The base salary for lawmakers is $35,021.
— Shawn Ashley (@eCapitol_Shawn) October 15, 2019
For the 2018-2019 school year in North Carolina, a 23 year old with a bachelor’s degree in education has a minimum starting salary of $35,000. I hope that our legislatures have more experience and knowledge than a first year teacher as the scope of their work is more complex.
Cheap legislature pay means the legislature is easy to capture.
Term limits means expertise and knowledge devolves to lobbyists and interest groups as they know where the bathroom is as well as where the high value comma should be placed next to an “and.”
“No budget, no pay” rules means that the party whose members can go without pay for years has a significant leverage advantage over the party whose members need to pay a mortgage on the 27th of each month.
We get what we pay for. Institutional rules partially determine leverage and power which then influences outcomes. A legislature where the only people who can afford to serve are either independently wealthy or easily bought out by concentrated interests will have a very different agenda merely due to the life experience of relevant leaders applying a filter of their own experiences to policy problems than a legislature where a wide swath of society can afford to run and serve.
We need to think through the first and second order effects of simple solutions to complex problems as the incentives tend to get messy.