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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A sneak attack on taxpayers

An Ohio pay grab is a warning to state capitals everywhere

Election Day should have taught legislators everywhere the lesson that they must be more respectful to the men and women who pay the taxes, and to show a little respect for the dollars those men and women send to municipal, state and federal treasuries. The message seems to have got lost on the way to Ohio.

One Ohio legislator, a Republican named Gerald Stebelton of Lancaster, is using the lame-duck session of his legislature to sneak through a dramatic pay raise for nearly every officeholder in Ohio. Nice work if he can get it, and Mr. Stebelton obviously thinks he can get it if he tries.

Ohio once awarded automatic pay raises to officeholders from governor on down to county commissioners and members of the boards of election commissions, but the law expired in 2008. Mr. Stebelton has introduced a bill to bring back the automatic annual cost-of-living raises, based on the Consumer Price Index, and capped at 3 percent a year. The proposal, reports the Ohio news website IdeaStream, would increase judges’ salaries 5 percent and increase the paychecks of rural county and township officials to align them with salaries of their city counterparts.

Mr. Stebelton wants judicial pay attractive to lawyers who want to be judges. The relatively low pay earned by Ohio’s state and local judges, he says, discourages lawyers who would make the best adjudicators from aspiring to be judges.


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