Speaker Bass cancels Assembly staff pay raises

State legislative leaders under fire for approving half-a-billion dollars in pay raises for staff swiftly changed direction today. KPCC’s Julie Small reports they’ve canceled the raises.

State legislative leaders under fire for approving half-a-billion dollars in pay raises for staff swiftly changed direction today. KPCC’s Julie Small reports they’ve canceled the raises.

Julie Small: The 5 percent raises for more than 100 Assembly staffers didn’t go over well. Not when other government agencies have furloughed workers and cut thousands of jobs – and not when lawmakers are asking voters to approve ballot measures to hike taxes and cap spending to help balance the state budget. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said she didn’t want the raises to distract voters from the May 19th ballot measures – so the L.A. Democrat canceled the pay hikes.

Karen Bass: I’m ruling out giving out raises to staff right now. And we are going to actually have a meeting over the next couple of days, and there might be additional measure that we make. We might decide the raises are frozen all year. We might decide there are additional measures to do to cut back.

Small: Speaker Bass said she’d approved the raises at first to compensate for cuts to staff. The Assembly employs 20 fewer people than it did a couple years ago. Bass says staffers are doing a lot more – and some have quit because of heavy workload. Assembly minority leader Mike Villines of Clovis also canceled pay raises for Republican staffers. Villines took it one step further – and gave himself a 5 percent pay cut.

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