One Nevada legislator takes pay cut | NevadaAppeal.com

One Nevada legislator takes pay cut

Associated Press
Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, right, and Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, discuss legislation with Sen. John Lee, D-Las Vegas, in the Senate Chambers at the Legislature on Sunday, May 31, 2009 in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Nevada Appeal, Kevin Clifford)
AP | NEVADA APPEAL

RENO, Nev. (AP) – A Nevada legislator is taking a pay cut in sympathy with state workers who are being forced to take unpaid furloughs and teachers whose salaries are being cut this year.

Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, wrote a check to the state for $526.65, representing a 6 percent pay cut, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Sunday. The newspaper said it could find no record that any other legislator was following suit.

Most statewide officers, including Gov. Jim Gibbons, are voluntarily reducing their pay.

Earlier this year, lawmakers imposed extended furloughs on state workers that amounted to a 4.6 percent pay cut.

“It appeared to me we were asking the state’s workers to bear some sort of sacrifice, so I felt it was only fair if I did the same,” Goedhart told the Gazette-Journal.

Lawmakers also cut teach salaries by 4 percent for the school year.

Some lawmakers said their salaries are so low they didn’t warrant cutting.

“Four percent of nothing is nothing,” said Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas. “It seems kind of crazy. When you don’t even get paid for the 60 days, it seems like a furlough in itself.”

The state constitution restricts legislator salaries to the first 60 days of each regular session, but those sessions typically last 120 days.

Most lawmakers are paid a flat $8,777 per session, plus a $167 daily per diem for the full 120 days. They also are reimbursed for travel, lodging and moving expenses.

State Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, had a similar reaction when asked if lawmakers should have cut their own pay.

“It’s kind of hard to cut nothing,” she said. “You have to get paid something to get something from something.”

This year, lawmakers pulled down $45,307, on average, in compensation and expenses, according to a Reno Gazette-Journal analysis.

Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said legislators should have reduced their own pay, even if it doesn’t save much money.

“We probably should have done that, in retrospect, to show solidarity with state workers,” Leslie said. “We already get just 50 percent pay. But other people have low pay too.”

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com