Home Virginia Politics Short Sessions, Low Salaries, Limited Staff: “Government By Lobbyist”

Short Sessions, Low Salaries, Limited Staff: “Government By Lobbyist”

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Virginia Capital: Richmond, VirginiaMatt Yglesias visits Phoenix and makes many of the same complaints we do about Richmond:

Specifically, the Arizona legislature combines low salary for members, short legislative sessions, term limits, and very limited staff (one secretary for every two state reps). This is all somehow supposed to keep representatives close to the people or prevent them from entrenching power, but in practice it amounts to a kind of government by lobbyist. […]

But this is something to keep in mind in the federal context when you hear about how this or that area of policy should be left up to the states. However unimpressed you may be by the wisdom of the United States Congress, it’s very difficult for me to think up complicated issues where pushing the issue down to under-resourced state legislators is likely to radically improve policymaking.

While Virginia’s legislature is larger than Arizona’s (good), its salary is even lower (bad). And its session is half as long as Arizona’s in budget years – and just a quarter of Arizona’s in non-budget years (terrible for citizens, GREAT if you’re a lobbyist). Read more about why the Virginia General Assembly needs reform.