Another political office asking for a raise

By Alexa Gagosz

What would you do with $87,500 a year? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would start paying off this hefty tuition.

But according to the Boston City Council (BCC) members, that salary is just not enough. They are currently putting a vote in place to argue that they should make around $110,000.

According to The Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Legislature makes a base salary of $61,113 a year, which means that if this vote passes, the BCC will be making almost double what their counterparts in the state house make. That would also make Boston’s city council among the highest paid in the country.

What do city councilors even do? Good question. They sit in their chamber, passing the city’s budget for the year. But they don’t take part in writing it, unlike those in the legislature who will be making half of what the counselors do. They pass complaints to the proper departments and attend a meeting here and there. They also hold hearings. So, what is the big deal about such a hefty raise? Why do they need such a big salary so badly?

(Photo by Sam Humphrey)

The last time they voted on their own raise was in 2006, so I guess it’s safe to say that voting on your own raise should not happen every other year, unless you want to be run out of office.

According to The Boston Globe, Mayor Marty Walsh, a former union boss, doesn’t like that they have gone eight years without a raise and supports the idea.

BCC President Bill Linehan told the Globe that this raise is “long overdue,” and the councilors argued that they needed this to continue supporting their families. Although, according to the U.S. Census in 2012, the median household income in Boston is about $53,136, and the median household income for all Massachusetts residents is $66,658.

One of the newest councilors, Michelle Wu, is proposing a citizen’s commission that actually sets the salary for the council.

“As a new councilor, I want to see a discussion on how we change the system and we make it such that City Councilors aren’t setting their own pay,’’ Wu said after the meeting to The Boston Globe.

In comparison, councilors in other parts of the state make significantly less. Springfield councilors just saw their raise go to $19,500 this year, the highest paid member in Worcester makes $29,000, and a member in Somerville makes $24,5000, according to Mass Live.

Asking for another raise is doing nothing but punishing taxpayers, making them pay a figure that most citizens in the state would be thrilled to make. It would help if the people spoke out about the issue, or else the rest of us will literally be paying for it in the future.