A Close Look at Legislators' Pay

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

When Mississippi legislators meet, taxpayers foot the bill. Each lawmaker gets a per diem of $91 for food and lodging.

"Is it a fair amount? To be honest, and to be blunt, I don't even know what that pier diem is," said Republican Sen. Henry Zuber of Jackson.

Lawmakers see this money regardless of where they travel from,even if they're local.

Combined, from 2008 to 2009, state senators saw roughly $2.8 million a year. Of that, $1.37 million was for mileage and per diem.

House members, because they are a larger group, saw an estimated $6.05 million. About $2.8 million came from mileage and per diem.

Lawmakers get $10,000 in session and $15,000 out of session, plus the other costs. It equals thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

That's why some lawmakers proposed a bill that would reduce their salaries by 10 percent.

"I filed this bill simply because I knew we were going to be facing some serious budget issues as we develop a budget for next year," said Sen. Giles Ward.

That piece of legislation didn't make it to the House floor.

Because of that, ward, is reducing his salary on his own.

"I took it upon myself to take a 10 percent salary reduction," Ward said.

But at the end of the day... Whether they realize what they're making or not, some lawmakers say they're not there for the money.

"I didn't run for the salary," said Zuber. "I ran to make a difference."

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 17, 2010 at 05:17 AM
    While I agree that legislators need to cut their expense to the state if everyone else has to, please note that the possible return to the state budget is tiny compared to the size of the budget and the shortfall.I also believe that every little bit helps. Let's see who follows this good example. (Haha)
  • by Anonymous on Mar 16, 2010 at 06:34 PM
    What a Novel Idea! - This is a little off subject but teachers do make a fair wage. All of this teachers are under paid bologna just comes from the teachers unions propaganda machine. But I’ll agree law enforcement is severely under paid, funded, and appreciated.
  • by Jay on Mar 16, 2010 at 06:30 PM
    Odd I didn't see anything on the news about hell freezing over. Could it be there is someone in government with a modicum of sense? No he is probably an alien.
  • by Comment Location: South Mississippi on Mar 16, 2010 at 05:52 PM
    I well remember all the years and years that legislators voted themselves substantial raises with little more than a raised eyebrow from taxpayers. It is a little late now to cry over all this spilled milk. Did they also have all those years of exemption from Social Security Tax as did their D.C. counterparts? Just a thought.
  • by What a Novel Idea! Location: Lauderdale county on Mar 16, 2010 at 01:19 PM
    Wow! A state lawmaker that actually see's the logical place to cut from the budget! I am very impressed to say the least. For those that voted the bill down, I'd like to know why. Would you prefer to cut from our law enforcement and teachers instead? Seeing as how they make such HUGE salaries and all.. (that was sarcasm)! I'll be looking into who voted which way on this bill and will take note for the next elections. The amount our legistlators are paid is out of line when there are discussions of reducing school days and teacher pay to make up deficits. Bravo Mr. Ward for taking the initiative! maybe others will see the light and follow in your footsteps... (I won't hold my breath, though. sigh)
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