Sunday, December 06, 2015

Indiana Lawmakers Earn $60,000 On Average For Part-Time Jobs

The common meme people hear from our state legislators is that they work countless hours on behalf of their constituents but are paid a pittance of a salary for their "part-time" jobs. The reality is that most Indiana lawmakers earn more from their part-time jobs than the average Hoosier earns from their full-time jobs. The Indianapolis Star's Tony Cook took a closer look at what our lawmakers are earning and learned they are earning about $60,000 on average with a number earning substantially more.

Ask a state legislator what he or she is paid, and they will tell you $24,140. That's just their base salary. They also receive per diem pay for each day of the year they report performing legislative duties, which is currently $159 a day. The per diem pay is intended to cover out-of-pocket expenses they incur for hotel and meals while they are in session, but it is paid to all lawmakers, including those who commute to the State House daily while the legislature is in session. Legislative leaders also receive additional pay for their leadership roles. "And that doesn’t include the lavish gifts lawmakers receive from lobbyists, such as expensive meals and tickets to sporting events such as Colts games and the Indianapolis 500," Cook added.

Cook's story provided the following list of the the ten highest paid lawmakers, all earning between $65,000 to $70,000 for their part-time jobs:
  • Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne: $70,488
  • Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville: $70,006 
  • Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis: $69,146 
  • Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City: $67,665 
  • Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte: $66,626
  • Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville: $66,462 
  • Rep. Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis: $65,724
  • Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson: $65,439
  • Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek: $65,395 
  • Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette: $65,152
The purpose of Cook's story was to discuss the age-old argument made by lawmakers that conflicts of interest are unavoidable when you expect people who are required to work full-time at an outside job in order to earn a living to serve as part-time lawmakers. Cook's point was to demonstrate that Indiana lawmakers are paid as much as what lawmakers in some states with full-time legislators earn. Ohio lawmakers, for example, earn a base salary of $60,500 a year but are paid no per diem. Indiana lawmakers are in session between two and a half to four months a year when they typically meet four days a week. Lawmakers think the current system is working just fine, even if weak ethics laws allow lawmakers to leverage their "part-time" jobs to benefit their "full-time" employment interest.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if they don't also have "health care" benefits coming to them tax free? As such are really only taxes (per judge Roberts) if they are benefiting from having us pay their taxes we can expect more taxes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for exposing the false argument and thank you for exposing these career political parasites- which is what contemporaneous politician is, IMHO and in years of watching/participating in the political scene.

Your article proves and substantiates my point all along... these privileged political class leeches will suck up incomes, perks, and benefits at the expense of their "constituents" than almost all of those constituents would ever hope to earn, could ever hope to receive in bennies like medical insurance, free tickets, free travel, free dinners, free club memberships, etc.

The Indianapolis City Council, with the utterly inept Maggie Lewis and the duplicitous Mary Moses Moriarty push salary increases for their new mayor and the "new" Councilors. What a joke.

I don't give a damn what anyone says... my staying away from the polls, my refusing to participate in a charade, was the most correct and honest civil duty course of action for me to pursue.

Gary R. Welsh said...

They receive health care and pension benefits. Thanks to a law passed with John Gregg's backing when he was Speaker, they received life-time health care benefits after they left the legislature. Public outcry led to the rolling back of that benefit.

Anonymous said...

auction off the jobs?

Anonymous said...

Hhhhmmm... I was considering a vote for John Gregg for Governor. NOT NOW, NOT EVER- he's no different than Mike Pence or any of the rest of permanent political class D or R.

sjudge said...

Kelley's worth ever dime of that

Anonymous said...

A good catch on Speaker Gregg. I had forgot about that bit of theft....(they count on us old folks to be forgetting things). I wonder how many of his cronies from that era are still around? Of course, one reason this subject did not arise in the past election was that the Indiana Republican Senate was right there at the same trough, pigging out.

Anonymous said...

It sounds harsh I suppose but true stories like this reinforce my firm conviction that just about any politician from any political party is out for him or herself. Period. End of paragraph.

I wouldn't give you a worn nickel for any of these people.

I'd rather buy snake oil from a traveling carney than vote for these creeps or any other politician.

Flogger said...

If I recall right I think Ivy Tech supplied some "jobs" also to some Elected Officials. These elected officials could not seem to find gainful employment in the Private Sector. You have to wonder how many of our Elected Officials are one way or another collecting a double check either directly or as some phony contractor for a public entity???

Gary R. Welsh said...

Those were jobs better described as "no work, no show" jobs. There are a number of lawmakers who have jobs like that, some of which pay in the six-figure range. Ask Greg Porter what he does to earn $120,000 a year working for the Health & Hospital Corporation. I think they call him a VP of External Affairs. IPL gave Glenn Howard a similar job for decades. An incredibly large number of them now work for nonprofit organizations. The media does a piss poor job tracking why these nonprofits are so eager to hire lawmakers to work for them.

Pete Boggs said...

This auctioning of our liberty & the public treasury is corrupt.

LamLawIndy said...

Gary, do they still get the 4-to-1 match on their retirement plan? No mention of that in the Star article.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I don't think it's been changed, Carlos.

Anonymous said...

Didn't this also include we the taxpayers paying health insurance for their ex spouses?

Mike Jasper said...

So what is a better plan?

I still think their pay plan should be tied to the prosperity of their citizens. It should be enough to provide at least some competition to the crony cash that is really driving things. Why not set their total package at the median household income of their district and see what sort of stewardship that generates. It still does not address the "part time" nature of the body which I do think impacts conflict of interest.

From my point of view least bad result would be to make them full time jobs. Set a base of $120,000 times a ratio of the district's median household income to what Economic Policy Institute says it costs for a 3 person family to live plus state and local taxes. But then no outside jobs/conflicts. Of course we see how tis works with federal appointees. Crony cash is just overwhelming it seems. Right now for Marion county that ratio would be 70% by my calculation.

But really it isn't what it costs it is what it is worth. Good stewardship would more than pay for itself.

Anonymous said...

" Ask Greg Porter what he does to earn $120,000 a year working for the Health & Hospital Corporation." And, the Ivy Tech bloat floated many a Republican Senator.....might have been part of the war with Carol D'Amico wanting to clean up that mess and the R's who wished it to continue as their play pen. Don't know. Don't really have a newspaper but I do know that the Star knows Rep Porter well.....he is in their pages a lot, braying the sort of stupid stuff the Star likes to hear. I think he is also the water boy for Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is whether these highly paid Indiana legislators are going to honor the Presidents executive order on these federal contracts, because I believe there has not been this kind of compliance:

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has pledged to reverse President Obama’s executive order barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors, saying faith-based businesses are “being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct.”

Rubio made the remarks during Thanksgiving week in the same interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage is “not settled law.” The media outlet didn’t publish the portion of the interview in which Rubio talked about Obama’s order until Saturday.

After being questioned about maintaining religious freedom in the United States, which is considered code by conservatives to mean enabling anti-LGBT discrimination, Rubio said “there’s no doubt that we need to be extra vigilant now” about protecting religious liberty.

Indiana is engaged in many large construction projects involving federal contractors, and I want to know if our legislature is ensuring compliance.

LamLawIndy said...

Heaven forbid! The 2 words that mean I don't have to watch my wallet are "sine die." :)