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Panel votes not to increase legislative pay

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A state panel voted Tuesday not to increase the $38,400 annual salary currently paid to Oklahoma legislators.

Legislative pay in Oklahoma ranks 11th in the nation and is higher than surrounding states.

Oklahoma lawmakers, who meet for a four-month session each year, last got a raise in 1997 when the Legislative Compensation Board raised annual pay from $32,000 to $38,400.

The Legislative Compensation Board, which meets every two years, agreed by voice vote Tuesday to keep salaries as they are. Some of the board members said the current pay permits diversity in the Legislature because it is high enough to enable anyone to run for the legislature.

Theodore Metscher, a board member and retired official with the Oklahoma City Federation of Teachers, said the Oklahoma Legislature currently is doing a lot of tax cutting that impacts public employees.

``If the legislature wants to continue to cut taxes and provide less services in corrections and Medicare and state employees, then what's good for the goose is good for the gander,'' he said. ``If our lifestyle is affected, their lifestyle should be.''
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