Kudos to the legislators willing and able to forgo the raise on their $13,962 State House stipend and thanks to those of you who sent out press releases on the matter so that the media would know of your good deed. But we should also recognize Rep. Scott Guthrie, a progressive Democrat from Coventry, who refuses to take the salary at all.
According to the Joint Committee on Legislative Services, Guthrie is the only member of the General Assembly to not accept the salary that comes with being a part-time legislator.
But he’s not bragging about it. In fact, he declined to comment when I asked him why he doesn’t take the pay.
Guthrie, a retired fire fighter from North Kingstown, has served in the House since 2008. For the past three sessions, he has sponsored bills that would have raised taxes on Rhode Island’s richest residents.
Guthrie also doesn’t take the health insurance that comes with being a state legislator. But he’s not alone there.
Here’s the list of legislators who don’t take the health insurance, as provided by Larry Berman:
Reps: Lisa Baldelli Hunt, Woonsocket; David Bennett, Warwick; Chris Blazejewski, Providence; John Carnevale, Providence; Mike Chippendale, Foster; Spencer Dickinson, South Kingstown; Deborah Fellela, Johnston, Frank Ferri, Warwick, Jim McLaughlin, Central Falls; Scot Slater, Providence; Lisa Tomasso, Coventry.
Sens: Frank Devall, Providence; Walter Felag, Warren; Frank Lombardo, Johnston; Harold Metts, Providence; Donna Nesselbush, Providence; Chris Ottiano, Portsmouth; Deb Ruggerio, Jamestown.
Of course, they get a $1,001 check from the state for not taking the benefits. Here is the list of legislators who also forgo that “waiver bonus”:
Reps: Doreen Costa, North Kingstown; Robert DaSilva, East Providence; Scott Guthrie, Coventry; Joy Hearn, Barrington; Ray Hull, Providence; Robert Jacquard, Johnston; Karen MacBeth, Cumberalnd; Mike Marcello, Scituate; Rene Menard, Cumberland; Mary Messier, Phillips, East Providence; Dan Reilly, Portsmouth; Patricia Serpa, Coventry; Stephen Ucci, Cranston; Larry Valencia, Richmond.
Sens: Louis DiPalma, Middletown; Paul Fogarty, Burrillville; Maryellen Goodwin, Providence; Paul Jabour, Providence; Frank Maher, Charlestown; Jim Sheehan, North Kingstown; Glen Shibley, Coventry.