Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2019

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Letter to the editor:

Paying legislators more not solution

Jon Ralston’s column in the Sunday edition of the Las Vegas Sun, "A modest proposal to fix the Legislature" of the Las Vegas Sun is mistitled. How can a proposal to increase the size and cost of state government — with no assurance and little prospect that it will be better — be considered “modest?”

A year-round, highly paid state legislature with attendant highly paid staff would merely be bigger and more expensive, not better and probably not less corrupt.

Corruption is a matter of character, not pay rate.

As David Schwartz’s “Memo from Carson City” observed in the same edition, conflicts of interest will always exist in elected bodies.

It is the duty of the elected representatives to consider the best interests of their constituents in the broader context of the best interests of the state and to be candid and forthcoming explaining their votes.

It is a duty of the press to expose those legislators who are less than candid or forthcoming about all that influences their actions.

And it is the duty of the electorate to hold legislators accountable at elections. All groups fail, to greater or lesser degree, every election cycle; that is the nature of a democracy. But it is unlikely that paying legislators more would make the press more diligent or the electorate more concerned.

It is not a given that more, or more expensive, government is better government. Let’s not give them more incentive.

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