Boccieri Affirms Support For Resolution To Have Commission Set Lawmakers' Salaries
Says proposal would rightly move authority to set pay out of the hands of legislators

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today affirmed his support for Senate President Keith Faber’s (R-Celina) proposed constitutional amendment to create an appointed commission that would vote every two years on salary adjustments for elected officials. Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 1, which is intended to eliminate politicians’ authority to set their own salaries, had its fifth hearing in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Wednesday. 

“An independent commission is better suited to determine legislators' salaries,” Boccieri said. “Even though the Ohio Constitution allows legislators to set their own salary, the process should be more analytical than political. I support allowing voters to decide if this process is better in the hands of a commission or politicians.” 

Boccieri backs having an independent commission assess what individuals of equal value would make in the private sector, and then having that commission make the appropriate corrections to lawmakers’ salaries. The Poland lawmaker believes this less political process would be a better approach, but remains concerned over changing rules that have been in the state constitution for decades. 

“The Republican majority needs to move on this idea to give voters the chance to decide whether the constitution should change,” Boccieri stated. “I stand by President Faber’s sensible idea. I served with him previously in the General Assembly and I look forward to working with him now to ensure SJR 1 passes.” 

Although SJR 1 passed the Senate unanimously last May, House lawmakers have yet to move the resolution out of committee. Leadership on the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee is considering amending the resolution to limit the commission’s jurisdiction over pay rates to solely legislators and statewide officers, thus allowing the legislature to retain its authority over the salaries of judges and local officials. 

Under the Ohio Constitution, the legislature has power over state and local officials’ pay, but lawmakers have been historically hesitant to exercise this power. Last year’s budget, HB 64, included the first annual pay raise for judges and other local elected officials in seven years. The five percent increase did not apply to state lawmakers or statewide officials. Under SJR 1, lawmakers would be allowed to reject any salary changes the commission proposes. 

SJR 1 is scheduled to be heard again in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee next week.

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