(03/29/2008)
West Virginia legislators may not have invented the Retro-Pay concept, but it has been put to use for their benefit.

A retro-pay clause is allowing them to collect back pay for expenses this year, after pay increases were not supposed to take effect until after the November election or by January, 2009.

A provision in the pay-raise bill increases the lawmakers' "per diem" (the amount they receive for hotels and meals) back to January of this year.

The provision has created an uproar.

The media missed it at the time, and some lawmakers are claiming they didn't know about it.

The legislature used a recommendation from their own special commission to increase the salaries from $15,000 to $20,000 for the 60-day session, and that their daily compensation for hotels and meals should increase from $115 a day to $131 a day.

The bill tripled compensation for the House Speaker and Senate President, and increased pay for several of their deputies.


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