Legislators unfairly giving pay raises

At a time when the state's economy is still limping along and a lot of our friends and neighbors have felt their incomes drop - either because of pay cuts or being forced to take furloughs - we've learned that at least 87 Assembly staff members and nine members of state senators' staffs received raises in the first half of the year.

The Associated Press, which obtained the records under the state Legislative Open Records Act, reported recently that the raises cost the state more than $582,000 on an annualized basis.

It's bad enough that the state faces an unprecedented financial predicament that's a deep dent in everything from schools to state parks. But when Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who has been at the head of the charge on budget deliberations - and even boycotted some for a few days to make her point - allowed raises to three of her staffers and three others on the Democratic caucus, something's decidedly out of whack.

In San Diego County, the Associated Press said the list includes:

• Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, had five employees whose cumulative monthly pay went from $22,065 to $25,478. (One's increase was reportedly due to a promotion.) The $41,000 in raises was the highest total for any member of the Legislature, the AP reported.

(The assemblywoman's spokeswoman told the news service that the raises were the result of changes in Saldana's role and that some staffers hadn't received raises in two years and some had been promoted.)

• Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, whose district includes a large portion of inland North County, gave one employee a raise from $2,750 to $4,604 a month.

We're willing to accept raises for change of responsibilities, but with state workers forced to take three-day furloughs that are costing them nearly 15 percent of their pay, we have a tough time trying to figure out what our legislators were thinking.

Rest assured, we'll be thinking about them when they come up for re-election or seek another post.

   
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