The Republican congressional campaign committee thinks it’s a scandal that Democratic candidates are all suggesting the same cuts in congressional perks — campaign-style taxpayer-funded newsletters, corporate jet travel, limits on luxury vehicles, Also, no salary without a budget; no pay raise without a balanced budget; no health subsidies that taxpayers don’t get. Patrick Henry Hays (2nd District) and Jackie McPherson (1st) have rolled out anti-perk statements recently.
Republicans deride this as “copy and paste” stuff. Right. No Republican ever adopted a pledge gimmick. Read my lips: That’s a lie. No Republican ever ran for office on dogma handed down from the Kochs, ALECs or one of the GOP sloganeers.
If being a copycat isn’t good enough, the Republican campaign committee wants you to hate on Patrick Henry Hays because his pay was raised while he was the mayor of North Little Rock. It went up, on average, about 3 percent a year over the 12 years he was mayor, from $76,981 in 2000 to $104.251 in 2012. That still left him a good $64,000 behind the mayor of Little Rock, a bigger city but with far less to show for its leadership than Hays showed in North Little Rock. Not to mention a submarine. The Republican release also notes, as news accounts did at the time, that Hays got a retroactive pay raise in 2012 that gave him a boost in retirement pay worth about $200 a month in higher retirement pay (about $52,000 a year). And, four years ago, the mayor shared with all city employees a bonus.
Said the Repubs:
Pat Hays is being dishonest with voters. As Mayor, Hays abused the taxpayers’ trust by giving himself pay raises and a lucrative retirement package instead of doing what’s right and giving the taxpayer funds back to the taxpayers. Arkansas families can rest assured that if sent to Washington, Pat Hays will continue to abuse the perks of office just like he did as Mayor of North Little Rock.
Small point: The City Council voted the raises. Hays didn’t give them to himself.
Small point II: Hays’ pay and retirement are public record and fair game. But absent from the Republican broadside is any criticism of the congressional perks.