Sen. Sheehan declines legislator pay raise
STATE HOUSE — Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett) has announced that he will decline his 1.6-percent salary increase.
Salaries for state lawmakers are governed by Article VI, Section 3 of the Rhode Island Constitution, with annual salary increases tied to the Consumer Price Index for the previous year.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CPI-U for the 12-month average ending in December 2014, the cost of living has risen by 1.6 percent. The pay for members of the legislature in the fiscal year that ended June 30 was $15,171.55. The cost-of-living increase of 1.6 percent amounts to $242.71. The new salary, effective July 1, 2015, for members of the Assembly is $15,414.26.
“Given the continued state of the economy, I will not accept the constitutionally guaranteed pay raise,” said Senator Sheehan. “I do not think it is appropriate in principle to accept a pay raise when sacrifices are being made all across state government and in most of the households in our state.”
The constitutional change that established legislative salaries also allows them to receive health insurance benefits comparable to other state employees. Senator Sheehan does not accept the health insurance coverage and has, in the past, declined the waiver payment, previously $2002 and later reduced to $1001, for legislators who do not accept the health coverage.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903