Sneaky tactics ensure pay increases for politicians

Just last week, we praised Ohio Gov. John Kasich for vetoing a bill that included pay raises for state legislators. The raises had been slipped into an unrelated bill in the final days of a lame duck session, when there was little time for debate or public feedback.

That was bad enough. But now the legislature has overturned Kasich’s veto and it looks like they will get the raises after all.

We have a couple of issues with that. First, there seemed to be little justification for the raises other than that there hadn’t been one for some time. We think many Ohio workers can relate to that and they can’t just grant themselves a pay increase. We have to live within our means, and so should the state.

Second, the way the legislators went about this has been widely criticized and for good reason. To slip it into this bill in particular–focused on increasing death benefits for surviving family members of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty–seems in particularly bad taste and a shameless attempt to ram the bill through.

Lastly, this bill included not only pay raises for the legislature but for many local-level officials in many counties as well, from county commissioners to sheriffs to treasurers. This will have a big financial impact over the years. It deserved a chance to be discussed openly and over time.

The law means the base pay for legislators in Ohio–although many already make more– will rise from $60,584 to $63,007 and to $76,208 in 2028. Some will earn those raises and some will not but thanks to some underhanded maneuvering from our state’s elected leaders, they all will receive it.