O’Ban declines increase in Senate per diem as issue of ‘fairness’

‘This is the wrong time for lawmakers to be increasing their pay,’ says Pierce County lawmaker

OLYMPIA…State Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, announced today that he would not accept any increase in his compensation from the Senate despite a vote in the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee to raise the per diem from $90 to $120 per day.

“At a time of chronic unemployment, the Legislature needs to lead by example,” said O’Ban. “In Pierce County, my county, unemployment is higher than the state average and veterans are unemployed at even higher rates. Furthermore, we have asked other state employees to hold the line on wage increases.”

In a request to the Secretary of the Senate, O’Ban asked that his per diem rate remain at the previous $90 level.

“This is an issue of fairness. It’s simply wrong for the Legislature to be increasing its pay in any form when so many people are struggling to even find a job,” O’Ban said.

By a 4-3 vote the state Senate Facilities and Operations Committee supported the 33 percent increase in the amount senators may collect each day for expenses while the Legislature is in session.