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Link legislators’ pay to their performance

It is suggested that legislators at all levels have their wages set, not by themselves, but indexed to the median household earnings of their constituents. By doing this, the fortunes of the legislators will rise and fall along with the people they are charged to represent. The most basic obligation of elected officials is to act in a manner that enhances the quality of life of the people in their communities.

Tying compensation to performance is an established principle in private industry that seems to have been validated as effective, motivating both individuals and companies to work to improve the outcomes of their functional areas of responsibility. If a legislator is effective in improving the standard of living for his constituents, that generally would be associated with increased income. This would be due to additional jobs becoming available in the community so more people are employed, higher-paying jobs becoming available or conditions improving such that businesses can afford to raise wages for the existing workforce.

If the legislators’ efforts are instrumental in improving the lives of their constituents, they should also reap the associated benefits by having an increase in their own wage compensation. As the old saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Mary Ann Bald

Buffalo