JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles County, said he opposes the proposed pay increase for state officials and lawmakers.
An 8 percent increase was approved by the Citizens' Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials for most statewide elected officials - including the secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general and the governor. The increase would be included in paychecks beginning in fiscal year 2016 and would increase again in 2017.
Parkinson said he opposes the pay hike and will do whatever is necessary to see that it does not go into effect.
"My constituents didn’t send me to Jefferson City because they felt I needed a comfortable living, nicer clothes, or a bigger house," Parkinson said in a news release. "They sent me to Jefferson City because I promised to make the same responsible choices with our state budget that I would make with my own household budget. Our state has a number of priorities that need to be funded every year. Finding over $1.3 million dollars so that we can give pay raises to our statewide elected officials and our legislators is not one of those priorities."
The commission's recommendations automatically go into effect unless two-thirds of both the House and Senate vote it down.
The panel also suggested a $4,000, or 11 percent, increase over two years for lawmakers and $9,500 for the lieutenant governor.
Missouri judges, in addition to all of the positions, would get more compensation for daily expenditures and mileage reimbursement to match the federal rates.
Mileage reimbursement would climb to 56 cents per mile from 37 cents. Money for hotels would expand to about $129 a day from about $103, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.
Parkinson said he does not support it because "right now, it's just inappropriate with dealing with the state finances and so forth. You know, over the past two fiscal years, each year we've given a 1 percent pay increase to the state employees and I think it's going to leave a very bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths if we just give 1 percent on an annual basis to the state employees but at the same time we take an 8 percent pay increase."
Proponents of the wage increase said higher paychecks may help attract more qualified people to run for public office.
The last time Missouri officials and lawmakers received a raise was in 2009. The salaries for judges will remain the same after their pay was increased in 2013.
The panel has yet to write up their official report that they can use to convince the public and members of the General Assembly.
The Missouri constitution requires the members of the commission to meet every two years to evaluate officials' pay.