While the fierce budget battle is heating up, more and more Connecticut lawmakers are raising their hands these days to give back money to the state. Nearly half of the members of the General Assembly have volunteered to take pay cuts, and the list keeps growing.
As of Friday, 90 state lawmakers — 53 Democrats and 37 Republicans — had made arrangements to reduce their state paychecks. The Office of Legislative Management says more lawmakers are volunteering every day.
It's undoubtedly a noble gesture, but the overall savings won't make much of a dent in the state deficit. Through last week, the voluntary pay cuts added up to about $158,000 over the next three fiscal years. The current estimates place the budget about $9 billion in the red over the next three fiscal years.
Some lawmakers opt out of the state benefits, and figures from the state comptroller's office suggest that move can save taxpayers more significant sums. The savings could be as high as $420,000 a year, when accounting for the lawmakers who currently forgo state benefits like health insurance.