Opinion: How Disconnected are Wyoming’s Legislators?
When the Wyoming Legislature starts its 2020 Budget Session in February, one of the bills that could be considered is a bill that would increase the salaries of Wyoming's five statewide elected officials
It is House Bill 54, and if it becomes law the legislation would increase the annual salary of the governor from the current $105,000 per year to $150,000 annually. Also, the salaries of Wyoming's Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, and State Superintendent would all rise to $120,000 per year.
I'm not here to argue whether these state offices or the people that occupy them, deserve a raise. The problem is the total tone-deafness of the legislators that think this an issue to tackle right now.
We, the people of Wyoming, are consistently told that we can't afford things. Funding for education? Wyoming can't afford that. Medicaid expansion? Wyoming can't afford that.
Infrastructure repair and improvement, social safety nets, public transportation, public health? Wyoming can't afford things like that, according to those that control the state's purse strings.
But, according to our state lawmakers, there is plenty of gold in our Cowboy Cave of Wonders, to make sure the governor and their buddies have enough cash to avoid living in abject upper-middle-class poverty.
It's especially disturbing that these lawmakers would even consider introducing a bill like this in Wyoming's current economic climate.
I will give kudos to Governor Mark Gorden for publicly stating that this bill is not a good idea right now.
''While I appreciate the Legislature's concerns, neither in my budget nor anywhere else have I suggested any change to electeds’ salaries. On the contrary, I remain focused on providing appropriate compensation for state employees and ensuring our wages throughout state government are competitive. We are early in the budget discussions and this proposal would have to work its way through the legislature. I ran for Governor to serve the people of Wyoming, not for the pay," Governor Mark Gorden said in a statement.
If the kitchen is falling apart and the cooks have to buy their own tools and hamburger, then the restaurant managers don't deserve a raise.
That this will bill will be introduced, debated, and possibly passed by the Wyoming legislature, shows total blindness to the lives the people of Wyoming live. Whether it is willful blindness or a result of people living in a political bubble, it makes our representatives look as if they are dangerously disconnected from the people.
If there's money for that? Why not for this?
If there is money to give our elected public servants raises, there there is money for lots of other public services. And if there isn't money for these services, then there isn't money for raises.
It's a question of priorities. These actions make me question the priorities of our state representatives
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