by Andrew Walden
Hawaii taxpayers are burdened by the nation’s most highly paid part time legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
And it's about to get worse.
At a March 13, 2019 hearing, the Hawaii Commission on Salaries announced a plan to juice legislative pay to $74,160 per year by 2024—a 18.5% pay hike.
Hawaii legislators‘ current $62,604 per year grift tops all but five states—and exceeds legislative pay for all states with part-time legislatures.
The Speaker and Senate President currently pull $70,104 and would jump up to $83,052 by 2024.
If enacted, the proposed grub grab would leapfrog Hawaii legislators past their full-time counterparts in Michigan and Illinois. Hawaii’s part timers will rake in more than legislators of any state except California, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Interestingly, California is one of the few states with budget problems worse than Hawaii's. Fools are marked by their willingness to pay.
Hawaii legislators' $225 per diem—which comes on top of salary--is second only to that of Tennessee.
Hawaii legislators are allowed to have full time jobs outside the legislature—a situation which allows some of them to be bought and paid for with make-work positions.
Unlike many states, Hawaii legislators have no term limits.
Hawaii legislators are granted a lifetime early retirement pension after a piddling ten years of self-service—five years if over age 55. Legislators may collect multiple pensions from various government ‘jobs’ in addition to their legislative pension or salary.
Hawaii House districts are among the smallest in the USA—each representing roughly 27,500 residents. California House members each represent nearly 500,000 residents—more than 18 times the size of a Hawaii House district. California legislators get no pension.
In addition to the legislative bonanza, the governor will jump from $158,700 to $189,480—19%, department heads from $154,812 to $188,400—22%.
*NOTE: NCSL incorrectly lists the Hawaii legislature as “full time lite”. The Hawaii legislature meets Jan 16 thru May 2 and legislators are allowed to have full time jobs outside the legislature.
HNN: The salary schedule is now set for review by the state Legislature.
PDF: Salary Schedule
NCSL: Legislator Compensation 2018
NCSL: Full and Part-Time Legislatures*
ERS: Contributory Plan for Elected and Legislative Officers
2010: Hawaii Legislators’ pay tops nation