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Arizona Legislators Propose Tripling Their Daily Stipend

Republicans and Democrats in the Arizona Legislature have finally found a spending proposal they can agree on — tripling the allowance legislators earn for their work at the Capitol.

Lawmakers have not seen a pay hike 1998.

They currently earn 24,000 a year, plus a daily stipend: $60 for rural lawmakers and $35 for Maricopa County residents.

"As a lawmaker from a rural area, it takes 2.5 hours to get here, I would like to be able to have someplace to live. It's hardly any money right now for me to find lodging here in the city," said Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon, who represents Green Valley.

If passed, the bill would boost the daily rate to $185 for rural commuters and about $92 for Phoenix-area lawmakers. Voters hold the power to set actual salary — and have rejected pay increases in the past — but lawmakers can adjust the daily stipend themselves.

Proponents say a raise would help encourage younger and more diverse Arizonans to consider public office. 

Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer at KJZZ from 2015 to 2019.