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Lawmaker calls legislative pay raise system 'a mess'

A state lawmakers says an upcoming 5.3 percent pay raise for the Legislature is something he didn't ask for, didn't vote for, and he can't give it back without facing financial penalty.

Rep. Robin Vos says the pay hike was approved by a legislative panel more than a year ago, well before the economy went south and the state budget deficit became a critical issue.

Vos says lawmaker salaries cannot be increased during their term in office and the last pay hike was about three years ago.

As a result, many of his colleagues consider this retroactive and is meant to catch them up to the raises all other state employees received during that time.

Vos says he didn't run for state office because of the salary, but the only way not to accept the raise is to give it back. He says he would still have to pay taxes on the money he would return.

Vos describes that as a "screwed up system" that needs changes.