Tucson Weekly . Volume 12, Number 9 . May 11 - May 17, 1995

WHILE THE ARIZONA Legislature was taking care of all those lobbyists, they were also doing a pretty good job of handing out pork to themselves and others of their ilk.

They raised the pay of county officials a whopping 24 percent for county supes and the five line offices--assessor, clerk of the court, recorder, school superintendent and treasurer. These jobs went from $42,000 a year to $52,000. Sheriffs were jumped from $65,000 to $75,000, and county attorneys from $75,000 to $92,000 (note how lawyers always make out better on these deals).

These big pay jumps go beyond mere professional courtesy--you know, the kind sharks give when they don't attack swimming lawyers. The real reason the legislature approved them is that Arizona passed term limits for state officials in 1992, and most of the current legislators will have to depart in another four years. To stay on the public tit, those folks up in Phoenix will have to run for something else, so they just raised the pay for the jobs many of them hope to hold later.

Ordinary state employees, on the other hand, got a mere 2.5 percent raise and participate in a pension plan with half the payback of the one for elected officials. A year in office for a pol counts for twice as much as a highway patrolman, a public health nurse or a teacher. And before we hang this rap on the GOP majority, please note that it had wide, bipartisan support. Most direct raids on the taxpayer usually do.

Proof again that Arizona, like elsewhere, has a ruling political class.

--Emil Franzi

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May 11 - May 17, 1995

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