What Does The Public Think

The Arkansas Independent Citizens Commission (7 political appointees,) was recently formed to evaluate pay for Arkansas’ elected officials. They have decided to give the politicians a 1.5x raise. The commission has been taking public comments, here are some samples: (Some editing issues have resulted in misspellings and poor punctuation as I cut and pasted the comments, attribute those errors to me and not the public commenters.)

“How stupid! I taught 40 years and barely made 40000 when I retired. This included a 60 plus hour work week.You all should be ashamed to use tax dollars for this increase for only a part time job. I could understand a raise of 2 or 3 percent but a raise of this size is absurd. I know that all teachers and state employees would like to have a nice raise also!”


“I do not take the Sunday Democrat Gazette but a friend who does told me about the proposed salary increases for state legislators, governor, judges, etc. I was sure she had the facts wrong since I knew the legislature was in session every other year for only 60 days. I also know that most senators and representatives have either retired from the work force or still hold a position in some kind of business for which they are well compensated. They return to a paying job when the legislature adjourns. As the legislators work only 2 months or one-sixth of a year the pro rated salaries would be $236, 400.00! So, I did some searching online and found the proposal for the salary increases. I am 67 years old and worked as an RN 40 plus hours a week for 20 years. Then, my husband and I opened a retail store which became quite successful, but, we both worked 14 hours a day seven days a week to insure that success. Right now, I am actually sick to my stomach after reading the recommendations. Little did I know when I voted for the constitutional amendment to create this commission that I was opening up the state treasury to be looted by our elected officials. A sad day for Arkansas.”


“I do feel as if the last increase for State employees being only one percent was at best insulting. State employees work hard for every dollar that we earn and the cost of living, as well as minimum wage has went up and minimum wage went up more than one percent so why did the States wages not. I know that at our level we can do better than this and would hope that someone would stand up and fight for us. Thank you for listening,.”


“I do not believe that anyone at the higher end of state level i.e. the governor almost doubling his salary is a joke. This is opposed by so many voting Arkansas that it should not pass. This is an outrage to anyone has ever voted an elected official in to office and who do you people that are asking for these increases think you are. I work for the state for DHS and we got a 1% cost of living increase so that the jokers on the hill can almost double their salaries. If this goes through I will not vote anyone that is an elected official at this time back into office so enjoy our pay bump because if it’s in my power you will not see another one as you will no longer be in office.”



“I’ve was against this issue when it came up last year. I’m against your recommendations now. Not only was the Ballot #3 title/synopsis at the voting booth deceptive so is your 5-state comparison now. Tennessee is in sessio45 days a year, Louisiana 65, Iowa 110, Oklahoma 120 and Missouri 150. Arkansas averaged is 30 days a year Except for Iowa their population is 2 and 3 times that of Arkansas. Do you think this ballot issue would have passed if the terminology at the voting booth had read “increase the legislature’s term limits” instead of setting term limits? Or a bill to “increase the pay of our elected officials?”In the executive branch, do you think we could get the Governor to buy his own groceries, do his own cooking, drive himself to and from work and reduce the expense of the plush Governor’s Mansion we put him in if we raise him from $87,000 to $140,000 annually? In conclusion I think our General Assembly should have the intestinal fortitude to make these salary/expense decisions. Not an autonomous 7-member committee they hand pick.”


“I am AGAINST the proposed pay increase for Arkansas legislators. While many Arkansas programs that benefit children, families, veterans, and the elderly are constantly being asked to “cut back” because there is “not enough money”, you request that your pay is more than doubled for part-time public service? Most working professional in the State are being looked over for cost of living raises year after year, and when it is received, it is likely 1.52%! Arkansas social workers, DCFS employees, teachers, and mental health therapists working in Community Mental Health Centers, all with bachelors degrees and many with Master’s degrees, do not make $39,400. per year working 50-60 hours per week, many times 7 days/week, all year long! Additionally, DCFS CPS workers are imbursed for mileage at 0.42/mile. Why do legislators receive 15 more cents per mile than the DCFS workers running the city streets and back roads of the state every day of the week? This proposal is a slap in the face to hard working Arkansans and will not stand. It is shameful! Please reconsider.”


“I am opposed to the salary increases. I do not believe the amount of salary indicates the level of intelligence you will get through an elected official. I think the higher salary could be the deciding factor to run for an office opposed to the desire to help the people in the great state of Arkansas. Do not insult the majority of the working people by voting yourselves a raise that most of us haven’t had in years.”


“Hello… I think you all know the TAXPAYER VOTERS were DECEIVED with issue 3 . I hope you all will take into consideration that TAXPAYERS were deceived with issue 3. I think most TAXPAYERS would be very happy if the whole thing was trashed and let the elected officials but the panel on the ballot in 2016 by its self. Also do the term limits the same way. The AMERICAN and ARKANSAS people are so fed up with being DECEIVED FROM WASHINGTON TO LITTLE ROCK. I for one hope the voters will trow the whole bunch out and start over.”




One in favor

“You have been tasked with a decision that is uber political and will incite strong opinions from both sides. Thank you for your willingness to take this on.I fully support your findings! There are tons of folks that have life experiences that would be invaluable in state offices – whether the legislature or other offices -that simply can’t afford the sacrifice. Literally.The changes you have proposed will hopefully encourage business owners, general workers and folks with great plans for the state that otherwise couldn’t afford to be elected and forgo their pay an opportunity to serve.Arkansas does not have “lifelong politicians”, rather, we have elected volunteers. Let’s encourage the best of the best to volunteer to serve.Thank you for your due diligence. Let’s resemble our comparable states. That is our best bet to move AR forward.”


Another asking for the Supreme Court to be paid an additional 20k annually.


“It never ceases to amaze me at the sheer ludicrous ideas that you people come up with. First, in comparing us to  surrounding states, you leave out the one that more closely matches us and has been our constant companion in the cellar of just about everything, Mississippi. Secondly, these “public servants” do not do this for the money, but for the “honor” of being able to serve the public. The only people that can actually be a legislator are retired people, owners of their own business or farms and lawyers. There are a few other exceptions, but the point is that your regular worker’s boss is not going to let them off for 60 days to vote on the state’s business. This is a part-time job. The salary needs to reflect that. If you need to suggest raises, then why not try your state employees, that’s the backbone of our Arkansas government.”




Additional comments can be read here.

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