For Immediate Release          

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2011

CONTACT: Leigh Fifelski (517) 999-3646

Snyder gives up salary, two Democrats support reforms but more to be done

LANSING – Citizens groups today praised Governor Rick Snyder and two Democratic lawmakers for taking steps toward leading by example on cuts to pay and benefits for elected officials and political appointees.

Gov. Snyder today, in releasing his budget, said he will return all but $1 of his pay to the state treasury.  The multi-millionaire venture capitalist did not, however, call for pay reductions and benefit cuts for his political appointees.  Meanwhile, state Representatives Jon Switalski, D-Warren, and Dian Slavens, D-Canton, announced their support for pay and benefit cuts for lawmakers and top Snyder executives.

“We are encouraged by Governor Snyder’s example and applaud this symbolic move,” said Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz. “But his top political appointees must also show some leadership and Snyder should direct them to give up their taxpayer-funded cars and make the same sacrifice in pay and benefits cuts that Governor Snyder is expecting from other state employees.”

 Progress Michigan, Common Cause Michigan and Michigan Citizens Action Tuesday called for a range of cuts politicians should make to their own paychecks and perks, including an across-the-board 20-percent pay cut and elimination of a $900-a-month expense account for each legislator.

 “Representatives Switalski and Slavens are showing courage and leadership in calling on their colleagues to tighten their belts and stretch every dollar by cutting their pay and expense accounts,” said Common Cause Michigan Executive Director Christina Kuo.

“On a day when our retirees, low income workers and others are being asked to sacrifice, we should expect our leaders to set the right example,” said Linda Teeter, Director of Michigan Citizens Action.  “Today we saw three leaders take the first step toward doing that.” 

Progress Michigan, Common Cause Michigan and Michigan Citizen Action called on the Legislature to reform government by taking the following steps:

§  Cutting the salaries of legislators and the governor by 20-percent.  Michigan has the second-high paid lawmakers in the nation with $71,685 salaries plus generous health and other benefits.  The governor’s salary is $159,300.

§  Increasing the health care co-pays and deductibles for politicians to that of the highest cost for a state employee. 

§  Eliminating legislators’ $900-a-month expense allotments.

§  Ending the use of all state vehicles by appointees of the governor. 

§  Scaling back the salaries of the governor’s appointees to the normal range for civil servants.  Senior executives in the civil service with the most experience make $144,081, and administrators $116,189.  The pay for a majority of executives and administrators in the Snyder administration exceed those civil service levels.

§  Eliminating the governor’s taxpayer-funded salary if the governor receives $1 million a year outside of state government in income.



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