As many Massachusetts residents worry about where they’ll find their next paycheck or meal amid mass unemployment during the pandemic, Beacon Hill officials are welcoming the new year with a fat raise.
The state’s 200 senators and representatives are each in line for a $4,280 bump in their base salaries — their third raise in as many legislative sessions. The 6.46% raise will boost their base pay to $70,536. The House speaker and Senate president will each pull down $178,000-plus.
Lawmakers will also be cashing in on a separate 4.89% hike to their office expense accounts and leadership will get another boost in their already lucrative stipends.
“We’re in the middle of record-high unemployment, people can’t pay their rent, people don’t have enough to maintain their businesses and their businesses are closing — to me, it’s bad timing,” said Greg Sullivan, research director of the Pioneer Institute, noting jobless rates hovering around 6.7% are double what they were last year.
The raises are the result of a controversial pay hike legislation enacted four years ago that tied biennial adjustments to inflation. Base salary increases are mandated in the state constitution.