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Lawmakers Oppose Bill to Slash Lawmakers’ Benefits

A proposal that would take away health insurance and retirement benefits from state lawmakers had a quick hearing at the State House on Wednesday. It didn’t get much support in committee.

Rep. Brad Farrin, a Republican from Norridgewock, is proposing that members of the Legislature, who work part time, no longer receive paid health insurance or retirement benefits. He says few other Mainers who work part time get those kinds of benefits.

“I am willing to bet there are very few, if any. In my opinion, we should not receive a benefit in our elected public service position, which is part time, that an average working constituent wouldn’t receive,” he says. “We say that we don’t want career politicians, but why do we encourage the legislators to invest in the retirement program and receive these benefits generally associated with careers?”

No one else testified on the bill, and shortly after hearing the bill, the Appropriations Committee voted 7-2 against the proposal, which now goes to the full Legislature for its consideration.