Citizens Groups: Elected Officials, Appointees Must Cut Salaries, Benefits

For Immediate Release          

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011

CONTACT: David Holtz (313) 300-4454, Christina Kuo (248) 508-0971, Linda Teeter (269) 352-3811

Citizens Groups: Elected Officials, Appointees Must Cut Salaries, Benefits

As more budget cuts loom, Lansing must lead by example to reform government, share in sacrifice

LANSING – As Governor Snyder prepares to release a proposed budget with deep spending cuts, citizens groups today called on Michigan legislators, the Governor other elected officials and political appointees from both parties to cut their own generous pay and benefits.

The groups called for a range of cuts politicians should make to their own paychecks and perks, including an across-the-board 20-percent pay cut and elimination of a $900-a-month expense account for each legislator.

“Politicians in Lansing must lead by example, share in the sacrifice that so many Michigan families have made and reduce their generous pay and benefits,” said Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz. “The first step toward reforming Michigan’s broken government is for politicians to cut their own pay and perks before they make cuts that hurt Michigan families. Politicians in Lansing must demonstrate to Michigan citizens that they practice what they preach – and that means making cuts to their salaries and benefits now.”

“Michigan families are tightening their belts and stretching every dollar – politicians in Lansing should do the same,” said Common Cause Michigan Executive Director Christina Kuo. “It is time for Lansing politicians to lead by example because the people of Michigan are watching and they want their leaders to share in the pain.”

Progress Michigan, Common Cause Michigan and Michigan Citizens Action called on the Legislature to reform government by taking the following steps:

~  Cutting the salaries of legislators and the governor by 20-percent.  Michigan has the second-high paid lawmakers in the nation with $71,685 salaries plus generous health and other benefits.  The governor’s salary is $159,300.

~  Increasing the health care co-pays and deductibles for politicians to that of the highest cost for a state employee. 

~  Eliminating legislators’ $900-a-month expense allotments.

~  Ending the use of all state vehicles by appointees of the governor. 

~  Scaling back the salaries of the governor’s appointees to the normal range for civil servants.  Senior executives in the civil service with the most experience make $144,081, and administrators $116,189.  The pay for a majority of executives and administrators in the Snyder administration exceed those civil service levels, including state Budget Director John Nixon who makes $250,000.

~  Eliminating the governor’s taxpayer-funded salary if the governor receives $1 million a year outside of state government in income.

“Lansing politicians are calling for shared sacrifice but so far the only people who are being asked to do with less are Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch,” said Linda Teeter, Director of Michigan Citizens Action.  “It’s time for our elected officials to lead by example.”

 

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