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Senate approves plan to increase pensions

March 03, 1999
By: Edward Klump
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB 308

JEFFERSON CITY - In the face of approaching term limits, the Senate approved a plan Wednesday that would fatten lawmakers' retirement funds.

The Senate voted 18-15 in favor of a bill that would boost the retirement packages of state legislators and employees by one-third. Sen. John Scott, D-St. Louis, sponsored the plan.

Under the proposal, legislators' pensions would be $200 a month, as opposed to the current $150 a month. The Legislature could also choose to tie the increase in with pay raises for members.

Gov. Mel Carnahan's spokesman, Chris Sifford, said it's too early in the process for the Governor to take a stance on the bill. But Sifford said the office will keep up with bill's position.

"We'll continue to track its progress, and then take a stance," he said.

Although the vote was mostly split along partisan lines, it wasn't a major piece of the Democratic agenda said Sen. Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico. He was the only Democrat to vote against the proposal, but Maxwell said doesn't mean he's against pay raises.

"Future generations need to have increased compensation and increased retirement," he said.

Maxwell said his complaint is that lawmakers should not be giving themselves credit for past service. But he said he'd support an increase for the future that might encourage more people to run.

"If you want to get one for the next legislators, I'm all for it," he said.

Sen. Marvin Singleton, R-Joplin, said the Constitution does not allow lawmakers to give themselves this sort of pay raise. But, Singleton said he too would support raising the salary for the next generation of lawmakers.

"I would be happy to look at compensation for future legislators," he said.