I’d take it.
Somebody wants to give me a $3,200-a-year raise and I’m taking it. I’m not in a position to be proud.
Some of our Beacon Hill solons have come under fire for accepting an automatic 5.5-percent pay hike, while people all over the state — people who elected them — are losing their jobs, their homes, their savings. But hey, so what? I’m taking that raise. I need it more than you do. My son is a senior in high school and we’re looking at colleges. None of them is cheap, you know.
Besides, if I’m an elected state rep or state senator who has been up on Beacon Hill for any number of years, I think I’m entitled to a raise. You think it’s easy to travel to Boston every day and deal with such weighty issues as video games or whether twins should be allowed in the same classroom? It takes a lot out of you.
Some of the pols have come right out and said they’re taking the raise. Good for them. Sen. Susan Fargo of Lincoln, Sen. Jamie Eldridge of Acton, Rep. Bill Greene of Billerica, and Rep. Robert Hargraves of Groton are all taking the raise. So there. I’m with you guys. Spend it wisely, unlike the state budget.
Others, like Rep. Colleen Garry of Dracut, Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord and Rep. Barry Finegold of Andover are taking the raise, but they’re going to give it to charity. How noble. The wage hike still applies to their pensions when they retire or leave office. I suspect that in Colleen’s case, the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, the Dracut Food Pantry and the Dracut and Tyngsboro scholarship foundations should see a nice windfall this year.
State Rep. Kevin Murphy said he’s giving his raise to his staff. I wonder how many people are on his staff and if there are any openings for good public relations guy with a boatload of contacts.
Lowell reps. Tom Golden and Dave Nangle are kind of undecided. They might turn it down, or they might take it and donate it to charity. Sen. Steve Panagiotakos has flatly refused his pay raise. It’s not the first time, either. Panagiotakos said he will return the money to general fund. Oh, that’s a great idea. They’ve done wonders with the $28.1 billion we’ve already given them.
Keep the money, Steve. I’m sure you can put it to much better use than your colleagues.
The raise is based on the state’s median household income. If the median goes up, the lawmakers get a raise. Does anybody seriously think that those of us in the private sector are making 5.5 percent more than we were two years ago?
We live in two worlds. I live in the world where if you take a bribe and are caught doing so on camera, you go to jail, directly to jail. Do not pass Go and do not collect your $200, or your pension, for that matter. I live in a world where if you solicit a woman (or several women) on a park bench, you go to jail. I live in a world where if you’re being investigated by a state ethics panel, you do not get re-elected as speaker of the House. I live in a world where if you’re convicted of obstruction of justice, you go to jail. And you do not get a presidential pardon.
I live in a world where I do not get an automatic pay raise just for showing up nine months out of the year. If I lived in that other world and they handed me a $3,200 raise, I’d take it. And I’d sleep well at night. Where do I sign up to be part of that world?
Dennis Shaughnessey’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.