Oppose The Council's Wage Hike
By Emil Franzi
PROP 107, WHICH increases the salary of a Tucson City Council member from $18,000 to $24,000, is being pimped with the same old argument: If you pay better, you get better people.
No, you don't--as is amply demonstrated by every governmental jurisdiction in the United States that overpays its politicians, starting with the U.S. Congress. What you get is lifer hacks who run only for the money and the bennies they never remind you about--from free cars to a much better pension than your average government drudge. And you get bigger crooks. Chicago pays aldermen close to 75 grand with bennies, and the feds still haul away three or four to prison every year.
As it stands, Council members get $18,000, a generous monthly mileage allowance or a free car to drive, free trips to out-of-town events, free tickets to shows at the Convention Center, and invitations to attend almost every social occasion in town free of charge.
Being a Council member entails neither heavy lifting nor punching a time clock. What it does grant its members is power, for good or evil, or self-aggrandizement--which is why most people run. Candidates seeking that power don't need to be paid any more than they get now (which, we would point out, is considerably more than the $7 an hour defined in Prop 202 as a living wage.)
So if you believe that $7 an hour is enough for ordinary folks, vote no on paying Council members almost double. And if you think $7 an hour is too much, then start another ballot drive to lower the pay from $18,000 to something more sensible. Our pols shouldn't live better than those they serve.
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