The list of Rhode Island lawmakers who have decided to forego their pay raise is getting longer. According to House leadership spokesman Larry Berman, five members of the House and 10 senators have told the Assembly that they will not be taking the $307 cost-of-living adjustment that all legislators are eligible for under the state Constitution pay provision.
Those who decide to take the cost-of-living adjustment will see their annual salary increase to $14,907. The pay increase is doubled for House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, who both earn twice the salary of rank-and-file lawmakers.
The House members declining the raise: Reps. Michael Chippendale, R-Foster; Doreen Costa, R-North Kingstown, Robert Craven, D-North Kingstown, Ray Hull, D-Providence and J. Patrick ONeill, D-Pawtucket.
On the Senate side, those giving up the raise: Sens. Dennis Algiere, R-Westerly, the chamber’s Minority Leader, David Bates, R-Barrington, Marc Cote, D-Woonsocket, Dawson Hodgson, R-North Kingstown, Nick Kettle, R-Coventry, Edward O’Neill, I-Lincoln, Chris Ottiano, D-Portsmouth, Adam Satchell, D-West Warwick and Jim Sheehan, D-North Kingstown.
While declining the raises won’t solve Rhode Island’s fiscal crisis, some Smith Hill pols and interest groups see the issue as a symbolic one, arguing that will the Ocean State mired in a stubborn recession, lawmakers should set an example to show they understand the tough times afflicting many of their constituents.
Other view the issue as one of grandstanding pols trying to get some favorable publicity.