Smelser May Keep Raise

Annapolis '92

December 15, 1991

ANNAPOLIS — Some state lawmakers who gave their 1991 pay raise back to the statetreasury are beginning to wonder whether anyone noticed.

Sen. Charles Smelser, D-Carroll, Frederick, Howard, said he may discontinue the monthly deduction of half of his $2,000-a-year pay raise because the General Assembly probably won't cut spending as much as he wants.

Last Jan. 1, lawmakers' pay rose $2,000 to $27,000. Salaries willincrease by another $1,000 next month.

Smelser was one of only 14of 188 state lawmakers who gave back at least part of the raise.

"If (lawmakers) don't make a concerted effort to my liking as far as reducing the budget, and if they start going to raising taxes, I intend to give mine to some worthwhile charity," said Smelser, a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Legislative salary andexpense reimbursement rates are recommended by an independent commission, then adopted by the General Assembly at the beginning of each four-year term. They cannot be changed without an amendment to the state constitution once they are in place.

Legislators requested thatthe comptroller's office set up an optional payroll deduction program.

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