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Oklahoma board considers reducing legislator pay, benefits

Oklahoma State Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – A committee created to decide whether to give Oklahoma lawmakers a pay raise instead is considering reducing the salary and benefits for the state’s 149 legislators.

The Legislative Compensation Board voted Tuesday to keep the $38,400 annual salary for now. But the nine-member panel agreed to meet again in three  months to discuss the issue more.

Several members suggested the board consider reducing lawmaker salary and benefits given the state’s budget crisis and a perception from the public that lawmakers are doing a poor job.

“They’re not coming together and taking care of business. They need to be accountable. And we need to make sure that we send the correct message to their performance, to them about their performance or lack of,” said Wes Milbourn, chairman of the Legislative Compensation Board and KFOR’s President and General Manager.

The Legislature is trying to find ways to plug a $215 million budget gap.

Besides the $38,400 base salary, Oklahoma lawmakers receive travel and meal reimbursement and health and retirement benefits that bring their total compensation to about $62,000.