(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Republican members of the state Assembly said today they are following through on a commitment made in January to take salary reductions equal to the pay cuts imposed on state employees as a result of the 2009 legislative session.
Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, who also serves as the Assembly minority leader, said checks equaling a 4.6 percent reduction in pay for each Republican member of the Assembly will be sent to the state every six months. Since lawmakers are not in session, pay is received only for attending interim legislative meetings, and it made more sense to cut a check twice a year rather than on a more frequent basis, she said.
Suggestions in news reports earlier this month that lawmakers were not sharing in the pain of pay cuts is not the case for Assembly Republicans, Gansert said.
“We pledged early on to take any pay cuts state employees had to take,” she said. “It has just been an accounting issue for us.”
Checks were being sent today by Assembly Republicans to the state general fund.
“We believe it is important for elected leaders to match the sacrifices being asked of others,” Gansert said. “We shouldn’t ask anything of state personnel that we are not willing to accept for ourselves.”
Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, agreed, saying: “We are all in this together. State government must make painful cuts during these times and we all need to do our part to share the sacrifice.”
The 2009 Legislature approved a one-day-a-month furlough plan for most state workers as a way to help balance the budget. The unpaid day off equates to a 4.6 percent pay cut that began July 1.
Lawmakers get paid for the first 60 days of each legislative session held in odd-numbered years, but are paid only for attending sporadic meetings in the interim. The current pay for attending a legislative meeting is $146.29.
Some lawmakers are on more interim committees and attend more meetings than others.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Dec. 16 that only one lawmaker, Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, had taken a pay cut and returned $526.65 to the state.
But Gansert said all 14 Assembly Republicans are committed to taking the pay cuts as well.