To the Editor:
I would like to comment on the July 31 article by Kim Kalunian titled “4 local legislators decline annual pay raise.” It is important to have the present legislators state their intentions as to accept or decline the annual pay raise or COLA (cost of living adjustment). Equally important for the voters are the intentions of the candidates running for the General Assembly.
As the Republican candidate for House Representative in District 23, I would like to state my intentions regarding this issue. When elected in November, I will not accept the scheduled increase. I would also like to go on record and state that I will not accept any of the annual pay increases (COLAs) as long as the voters of District 23 support me with their votes.
In addition to declining any pay increases, I will not accept any health benefits that are offered to state representatives and senators. Why health benefits are afforded to part-time legislators is another Constitutional issue! I will not accept any stipend for declining the health benefits as well.
Lost on many of the reps and senators is that they are public servants. How would I, in good conscience, accept a COLA when so many retired, hard working people are being stripped of the COLAs they were promised? When spending is corrected at the State House, unemployment is below the national average and COLAs can be given, without burdening the taxpayers, only then would I consider any pay increase for myself.
John M. Falkowski
RI House of Representatives District 23