By Guy Page
The Vermont Senate yesterday gave initial approval to a hefty pay and benefits increase for the Vermont Legislature.
How hefty? It’s hard to say for sure because some cost variables (like paying lawmakers’ health insurance) are unknown. However, using VERY unofficial, back-of-the-envelope estimates and figures, Vermont Daily Chronicle has calculated that if S.39 becomes law, Vermont legislators who live in Montpelier during the session would receive salary and benefit compensation valued at about $52,000 beginning in 2025, $54,000 in 2026, and $56,000 in 2027. Those who live at home and commute would receive about $4500 less.
All estimates assume an 18-week session. The health care benefit assumes a state-paid monthly premium of $1000 – the actual figure is likely higher but VDC was not able to establish it before today’s deadline.
S.39 provides weekly salaries ($811 at present) for all House and Senate members during the 18-20 week Legislative Session:
for 2025, $1,000/week/18 weeks: $18,000.
for 2026, $1,100/week/18 weeks: $19,800.
For 2027, $1,210/week/18 weeks: $21,780.
The following proposed pay/benefits are in addition to the weekly base pay referenced above. The figures provided are VDC estimates.
Health insurance benefits – legislators would be eligible for the same health care benefits now enjoyed by State of Vermont executive branch employees. Starts 2024. Currently they do not receive the state health insurance benefits. – $12,000
Adjournment Pay – when out-of-session, lawmakers would receive weekly pay one-fifth of the in-session pay ($242/week). At present, they do not receive adjournment pay. Lawmakers are paid a per-diem for non-session committee and summer study work. – $6800
Mileage reimbursement – for lawmakers living at home, travel from home to the Capitol at the federal mileage reimbursement rate (currently 65.5 cents/mile, likely to rise or fall annually). This is also a current benefit. Based on an 80-mile (40 miles each way) round trip, four days a week, for 18 weeks. – $3773
Lodging reimbursement or allowance – Lawmakers not living at home would elect either actual lodging reimbursement or the federally-established government lodging allowance for Montpelier, Vermont – which is currently $127/day, likely to rise or fall annually. This is a current benefit. – $9144
Meals reimbursement or allowance – Lawmakers would elect either actual meals reimbursement or the federally-established government meals allowance for Montpelier, Vermont – which is currently $69/day, likely to rise or fall annually. This is a current benefit. – $4968
Childcare/eldercare – Each lawmaker with $75K or less of household income will receive up to $1600/year for necessary childcare or eldercare. At present, lawmakers do not receive any childcare/eldercare benefit. – $1600
Total annual estimated pay/benefit value in addition to base in-session weekly pay: $38,285.
Other S.39 proposed lawmaker compensations were either not eligible to all or were uncertain to be used, and therefore are listed separately:
Professional development out-of-state – Lawmakers would receive a per-diem (pro-rated from weekly salary) for attending out-of-state professional development and other duties.
Parking – A member who attests that physical limitations make it difficult or impractical to walk from lodging to the State House may receive reimbursement for actual costs incurred for overnight parking.
Orientation pay for members-elect – Each newly-elected non-incumbent will be paid a per diem based on lawmakers’ weekly pay for attending new member orientation, usually held in December.
Death pay – The estate of a deceased member will receive the entire pay of the two-week period in which the member died.
Special Session per diem – pay a per diem (daily) rate equal to one-fifth of the weekly pay: $200 in 20.
Legislative leave of absence – Employers of lawmakers will be required to provide leaves of absence for lawmakers in pursuit of their legislative duties. Candidates must inform employers shortly after filing to run for office.
Speaker of the House, Senate President pay hikes – the elected leaders of both chambers would receive about twice the pay of other lawmakers.
S.39 was given final approval by the Senate last Friday and now will move over to the House. Gov. Phil Scott has said he would support it if it includes a 90-day session – which the Senate rejected in an amendment last week.
I think if we paid them a lot more to stay home and do nothing the citizens of Vermont would benefit greatly.
This is absolutely criminal. The people of Vermont should have a say in this kind of decision, after all – we pay them. They should be ashamed of themselves. If regular workers did the kind of crappy job they do – we certainly wouldn’t get a raise and especially not one where we would get to chose the amount. This needs to change.
This is no different then adding term limits we the voters have no voice in politics and this proves it.
52k for 18 weeks of work that’s ridiculous, what they earn now is more then enough and more then some vermonters earn all year.
Vermont’s median household income in 2021 was $67,674.
Per capital was $37,903. Per US Census Bureau data.
Your legislators seek to eliminate the citizen legislature we have used since 1793.
And because there is no one to challenge them, they will succeed. Legislative changes to Vermont elections laws in 2020 help to ensure continued super majority D/P rule over Vermont minions. Who controls the ballot determines the results.
$69 a day for meals? They must eat very well.
The mount of money they’re making is outrageous. Two income families probably don’t even make that much in a whole year. How can these guys get away with making 52,000 for 18 weeks that is ridiculous everyone of those who vote yes on this should be fired. Hopefully people will realize how rich their getting and how poor we are getting and never vote them in again.
these folks want to be little dc folks pay me or else. have anyone seen the money they get from their so called real jobs ?
These people see themselves as the great and powerful philosopher kings (the ruling class envisioned by Plato), with the power to control millions of minions known as the middle class. They will do everything to increase their wealth and privilege.
18 weeks, 4 day work weeks, guaranteed reserved, preferential parking, and you should see how quickly the parking lots empty after noon on Fridays !
You do have a say! This is next years rate. Vote all new candidates in next term. I think they all forget this is not a career. They all start bleeding the system when they sit on their brains from day one.
Simply put, this is theft! When public service was created by our forefathers, it was meant to be a that someone served a short time before returning to the private sector. These people are making it a full-time job and making more than a lot of citizens are. I think it should be up to us as to how much they make and I think this should be a ballot measure for we the people. *facepalms himself* Oh that’s right, Chittenden County would approve it.