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Pay Raises

December 10, 1990

Several letters (Nov. 27) disparage the idea that state constitutional officers and legislators should get a pay raise concurrent with the imposition of an austerity program to help balance the state budget. Several writers decried the state keeping the $17-a-month federal cost-of-living increase for the aged, poor and disabled and using this $58-million windfall against the state shortfall.

The pay raise was suggested by a citizen salary commission enacted through a voter-approved initiative a couple of years ago. It's not a case of elected officials wanting to increase their own salaries. Second, all the pay raises proposed total a mere $1.5 million a year, a fraction of the $58 million pocketed by the state.

The issues are not connected. Fair compensation is a necessity, especially with the passage of Prop. 140. The possibility of a lifetime seat sometimes balanced a low salary. But with the new six-years-and-out law, proper pay is a must.

JERRY HERMES, San Diego

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