Creating the Commission on General Assembly Compensation
Oh, the danger that lurks beneath H.3410. This amendment seeks to establish the Commission on General Assembly Compensation. With the recent attention on ethics reform and rebuilding public trust, citizens will not take kindly to the idea of another committee assembled to discuss and “determine the level of compensation, allowances, and reimbursements for expenses that are appropriate for members of the General Assembly. The Nerve in 2010 reported that legislators then received on average about $32,000 annually in combined salary, reimbursements and expenses.In 2014, The Nerve reported that based on recommendations of a General Assembly-authorized salary study, lawmakers were pushing for salary increases of up to 192 percent. Citizens should feel even more concern knowing that the proposed Commission on General Assembly Compensation would consist of three members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, three members appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Clerk of either the House or the Senate, and finally, anybody deemed to have special knowledge of compensation practices. The commission also intends to “solicit the views of current and former members of the South Carolina General Assembly.” Lastly, the report is to be filed with Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the respective chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Recent trends suggest that lawmakers are likely not interested in reducing their annual pay, and the overwhelming influence of current and former members of the General Assembly is likely to trigger a serious case of collective action. With no accountability in place, who’s to stop this commission from abusing taxpayer dollars?