Boone County MO Libertarian Party Chair Calls for Salaries for Local Politicians

From a news story on the website of KOMU-Channel 8 in Columbia, MO:

COLUMBIA – If voters pass Proposition One on April 5, city council members and the mayor, won’t be able to call their civic work volunteerism. If passed, Proposition One would pay the mayor $9,000 a year and each of the six council members $6,000.

Supporters of the Proposition say it’s time for Columbia, now a city of more than 100,000, to offer a stipend to its elected officials. Even John Schultz, a fiscal conservative and chair of the Boone County Libertarian Party, said $45,000 is a small price to pay for public servants in a city with an operating budget in the hundreds of millions. Schultz lives in Columbia.

Read the rest here.

11 thoughts on “Boone County MO Libertarian Party Chair Calls for Salaries for Local Politicians

  1. Matt Cholko

    I absolutely agree that elected officials should be paid. Otherwise, only wealthy people can afford to serve in office.

    With that said, the salary need only be a moderate one, and should be relative to the hours worked. It looks to me like these salaries are moderate at best, possibly way too small.

  2. Matt Cholko

    To be clear, I don’t mean they should be paid an hourly wage. I just mean that a part time job doesn’t need to pay a full time wage.

  3. Marc Montoni

    I think otherwise. If they’re paid, it becomes an incentive to spend even more time diddling with writing even more laws and interfering even more with the private sector.

    I’d rather see all-volunteer politicians, public meetings only once or twice a year, and for them to otherwise leave polite society the heck alone.

    If there is to be a salary paid for holding an elected office, it should be set by the voters. At least in that respect, this one is being done right, with a referendum.

    Although, the devil’s always in the details — does Prop1 simply state that the members will get a salary, starting at $ _x_, and “later adjustments shall be made by the council itself?” Seeds of doom, if so.

    Visions of those school board members in various states voting themselves $800,000 salaries dance in the head.

    And — if a city of 100k has an operating budget in the ‘hundreds of millions’, then two things are true:

    1) The city needs to divest itself of just about all functions;

    2) The city should eliminate all taxes except for a tiny one, which should be reserved for a small oversight police force to look after the neighborhood security contractors. And even such a tiny tax could be replaced with a few bake sales several times a year by civic-minded volunteers.

  4. Matt Cholko

    I absolutely agree that salaries should be set by the voters. Elected officials giving themselves raises (like the US Congress does) is ridiculous.

    Now, if governing bodies operated like you suggest – meet a couple of times per year – I would agree that they should be all volunteer. However, since most of them spend a hell of a lot more time than a few meetings a year, I think pay is necessary.

    In 2009 I ran for the VA House of Delegates. Had I been elected, and the position been an unpaid one, I would not have been able to serve. As it is, the job pays $17,000+ per year, for two+ months of work. I think that’s pretty reasonable.

    Hundreds of thousands per year, no matter what the job, is NOT reasonable.

  5. Matt Cholko

    Marc said – And — if a city of 100k has an operating budget in the ‘hundreds of millions’, then two things are true:

    1) The city needs to divest itself of just about all functions;

    2) The city should eliminate all taxes except for a tiny one, which should be reserved for a small oversight police force to look after the neighborhood security contractors. And even such a tiny tax could be replaced with a few bake sales several times a year by civic-minded volunteers

    Me – I agree 100%.

  6. David Colborne

    In a city of 100,000+, the city government is going to be spending a considerable amount of time mediating disputes between neighbors. Since the legal paths of remediation in this country are either city governments or the legal system, and since lawyers cost a lot more than the salaries being mentioned above, I’d say paid city legislators are a decent bargain.

    That said, it’s refreshing to see that Columbus is paying their government workers what they think they’re worth (not much), which should lead said government workers to do what they’re paid to do (not much). When you’re only making $9000 a year, it doesn’t make any sense to treat governing as a full time job.

    I am a little curious why they’re budget is so high, though.

  7. Steven Wilson

    The city of Columbia is growing and with it so is the kind of crime. A tweener city for KC and St Louis, the gang activity has gotten more obvious and corrosive to the public servant.

    Growing pains are difficult to watch, but necessary for adaptation.

  8. Harry V. Joiner

    No matter what you pay or don’t pay politicians, they will find ways of padding their income, legally or illegally.

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