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Keller @ Large: Some Legislators Deserve Pay Hike, Some Don't

BOSTON (CBS) - You may think that we had Thanksgiving Day a couple of months ago. But it turns out Thursday is a day of feasting and celebration on Beacon Hill, where both the House and Senate are expected to easily override Governor Baker's veto of an $18 million pay-raise package for legislators, constitutional officers and court officials.

Those incensed by the large raises may not want to hear it, but there is a case to be made that some of those getting these pay hikes actually deserve them.

Legislative leaders and statewide elected officials oversee a sprawling corporation - the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - with a $40 billion annual budget.

That's a big responsibility, and the meager raises currently prescribed by state law don't always match the burden they carry.

Even the governor has conceded this point. And while he has enough independent wealth to forego the raise, most legislators do not live in palaces containing safes bulging with cash. But that doesn't mean critics outraged over legislators cutting ahead of needy citizens suffering from budget cuts don't have a valid complaint.

And there are some elements of this pay hike that qualify as farce.

The four house division chairs will see their pay jump by nearly 27-percent to more than $107,000 a year. What does a division chair do? We asked several State House veterans, and the answer was the same - not much.

So I guess congratulations are in order to the soon-to-be-newly-enriched members - at least, the ones who actually deserve it. And if you see your rep or senator at Dunkin' Donuts, go ahead, order another cold brew. They're buying, or at least, they should be.

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