House votes to reject a package of pay raises for government officials

By State Capitol Bureau staff

JEFFERSON CITY — The vote was overwhelming with 133 of the 162 Missouri House members voting to approve a resolution rejecting pay raises for government officials — far beyond the two-thirds voted needed to defeat the plan.

The pay plan would provide raises for statewide elected officials, judges and legislators ranging as high as 11 percent. The raises adopted by the Citizens Commission on Compensation automatically take effect until rejected by a two-thirds majority of both the House and Senate.

The Legislature has until the end of January to act.

The resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, argued that keeping the pay low for legislators assured the General Assembly remained a citizen Legislature.

“Because in order to be a citizen legislator, you ought to have a foot still in the working world outside of this body,” Barnes told his colleague.

But a Democratic member of the Legislature charged his colleague with being spineless.

“You remember when you got elected, you checked that box that said ‘I’m spineless’ when I get down to the General Assembly I want to do things that only make sure I get re-elected,” said Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis.

The resolution now goes to the Senate where that chamber’s GOP leader gave it only a 50-50 chance of passing.

Senate Republican Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said he did not know yet how he would vote on the measure nor whether he would allow it out of his committee if he were to oppose the resolution.