Panel says Oklahoma legislators to get 8.8 percent pay cut

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s 149 state representatives and senators are getting a pay cut.

The Legislative Compensation Board, a nine-member appointed panel, voted 4-3 on Thursday to reduce the base pay of Oklahoma legislators by 8.8 percent, effective in November 2018. The pay cut would reduce a legislator’s base salary from $38,400 to $35,021. The additional pay for House and Senate leaders also will be reduced.

“Oklahomans right now today are frustrated with Oklahoma’s Legislature,” said Chairman Wes Milbourn, the president and general manager of two Oklahoma City television stations who was appointed to the board by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Milbourn was one of several members who suggested the panel consider reducing legislative pay and who voted in favor of the cut.

Another one of Fallin’s appointees who favored the reduction, Mike O’Neal of Edmond, said he considered that legislators earn significantly more than the average Oklahoman considering the Legislature is only in session from February to May.

“How does what we’re compensating them compare to the typical Oklahoman and Oklahoma family?” O’Neal asked.

Besides the $38,400 base salary, Oklahoma lawmakers receive travel and meal reimbursement and health and retirement benefits that bring their total average compensation to about $62,000, according to information compiled by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The median household income for an Oklahoma family is about $49,000, OMES reported.

In addition, the leaders of the House and Senate receive an additional $17,932 each year, while the majority and minority floor leaders, appropriation chairs, House speaker pro tem and Senate assistant majority leader each make an additional $12,364 per year.

The board last approved a pay increase for Oklahoma legislators in 1997, boosting the annual salary from $32,000 to $38,400.


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