The Georgia House passed a resolution Tuesday that would allow voters to decide in November whether to set state legislators’ pay at 60% of the median household income. Instead of a fixed salary that must be adjusted through legislation, this constitutional amendment would create a salary that adjusts itself outside of lawmakers’ control.
Rep. Wes Cantrell, the sponsor, said lawmakers should see their own pay increase if they do work that helps the average constituent increase their salaries first.
“As Georgians do better, the General Assembly would do better,” said Cantrell, a Republican from Woodstock. “Additionally, we would never have to address our pay again.”
Legislators in Georgia are considered part-time employees. Currently, they make just over $17,300 per year, plus allowances of $247 per day spent outside the regular session working on legislative matters. Under this amendment, their base pay would increase to about $35,000, which is roughly 60% of the current median household salary in Georgia.
The House approved the resolution 136-33 amid a flurry of other bills passed on Crossover Day, the last day to get bills passed out of one chamber and moved to the other. If approved by voters in November, it will be the first base pay raise for lawmakers in decades.