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Letter: Upset with pay raises

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Dear Editor,

Among the many things we will never learn about from reading the Hudson Star-Observer (or any RiverTown publication) is the obscene 5.3 percent salary increase our Wisconsin legislators have given themselves.

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At this time of great financial crisis, a time of increasing unemployment, with our state facing a record budget deficit of 5.7 billion dollars, our state legislators have the audacity to increase their already high salary (Wisconsin legislative salary is among the 10 highest in the nation).

Granted the salary increase was acted upon last year, to take effect in January 2009, possibly before they were aware of how bad the economy would be by 2009. But there was every opportunity to rescind this pay raise which, of course, was not done.

We do have 10 brave legislators who have declined to accept the increase; only 10 out of 132 had the decency to step up to the plate and refuse such an inappropriate salary increase at this time. The information of this and other legislative activity must be sought on Internet sites, where you can also find the short list of those who declined and the 122 names of those who did not.

Unfortunately our local representatives, Kitty Rhoades, John Murtha and Sheila Harsdorf, were all listed among those who did not show the leadership, courage or decency to decline the increase. Timing of this outrageous pay raise is at the optimum; our unabashed representatives count on, rightly, that we electors will forget all about it before re-election time, nearly two years away.

In order to balance our state budget, these same legislators will be slashing wages and benefits for state employees, public education, local governments, Medicaid beneficiaries and much more. How can they sleep at night?

Editor's note: The raise increases each member's annual pay to $49,943.

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