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Litzow voluntarily reduces his legislative pay

State Sen. Steve Litzow, whose 41st Legislative District represents Mercer Island, will waive 3 percent of his legislative salary through mid-2013, mirroring the 3 percent reduction most state-government employees will see in their paychecks for that same period.

Washington’s constitution prohibits legislators from changing their salaries, giving that authority to a citizens’ commission. However, Litzow and a large, bipartisan group of lawmakers passed legislation this year that enables elected officials to easily waive part of their pay.

“Now that the payroll folks have made the necessary adjustments I’ve turned in the waiver form and will share in the sacrifice most of our other state workers are making. I know from many years in business that you shouldn’t ask your employees to do something you wouldn’t do yourself, and I see this the same way,” said Litzow, of Mercer Island.

To bring state spending into line with declining revenues and come up with a balanced state operating budget for 2011-13, most state workers will be working 3 percent fewer hours during the biennium. Their pay rates won’t drop, but working fewer hours will affect their paychecks.

Schoolteachers and other district staff are not paid directly by the state but are facing pay reductions of 1.9 percent to 3 percent due to the new state budget, a fact that led Litzow to withhold his support for the spending plan that took effect July 1. Employees of state-run higher-education institutions, state troopers and many state-ferry workers are among those exempt from the reduction in pay.

With the exception of the four legislative caucus leaders, Washington legislators receive an annual salary of $42,106. That figure has been frozen since 2008, before Litzow became senator for the 41st Legislative District, and will not change until at least mid-2013.

Litzow also had declined to accept the daily stipend available to legislators during the 30-day special session that followed this year’s regular legislative session.

 

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