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House minority leader David Litvack says legislators should not get a pay raise

SALT LAKE CITY — The 104 part-time Utah legislators should not get a pay raise next year.

So says House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake, who introduced a bill Wednesday that would keep lawmakers' daily pay at $117, as it is this 45-day session.

If legislators don't act, they would automatically get a pay raise July 1 to $130 a day — their old pay level. That is the recommendation of the Legislative Compensation Commission.

A law passed in 2001 says that pending other action, legislators' pay automatically goes to the level recommended every two years by the commission. Late last year, commission members said it is proper that lawmakers' pay go back to where it was two years ago.

At that time, lawmakers cut their own pay by the same percent that state budgets were trimmed. Most state employees got no pay raise this year, and some had to take unpaid furlough days, as well.

Most state employees won't get a pay raise next budget year, either, and some may have to take furlough days again.

"It is only right that we don't get a pay raise," said Litvack, who added that GOP leaders agree with his move, "especially with the sacrifices we're asking others to make in cutting state budgets again" next budget year, which starts July 1.

Besides their daily pay, legislators get $54 a day for meals and other expenses and $90 a day for hotel expenses, whether they stay in a hotel during the 45-day session or not. They also get mileage in driving to and from the Capitol.

Individual legislators' compensation varies, but on average, lawmakers make around $15,000 a year when all their compensation, without health care or retirement, is included.

e-mail: bbjr@desnews.com