ANNAPOLIS – The General Assembly Compensation Commission Wednesday began meeting to decide whether to increase the salaries and benefits of Maryland lawmakers, work that is expected to take about six weeks.
The current annual salary of General Assembly members is $29,700, paid in monthly installments, plus $30 a day for meals and $86 a day for lodging. In 1994, the salary was $28,000 a year; in 1990, $25,000, and in 1986, $21,000. Presiding officers earn $39,700 a year.
The salaries of Maryland legislators are the 12th highest of any state legislature in America. Of part-time legislatures, only Hawaii and Oklahoma have higher salaries.
On November 25, the commission will hold a public hearing at which it will recieve testimony from legislators and the general public. It will also hold a “work session/decision meeting” in which it will work out a recommendation. If necessary, the Commission will hold a second “work session/decision meeting” on December 2.
The General Assembly Compensation Commission is established by the Constitution of Maryland. Five of its members are appointed by the Governor, two by the President of the Senate and two by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. None of them are delegates or state employees. The commission’s recommendations have the force of law, unless the General Assembly decides to change or reject them. The Assembly does not have the power to add money, only to subtract it. -30-