Hawaii lawmakers could soon get a huge pay increase. The state salary commission recommended legislators get a 21 percent raise this summer.
Island lawmakers can put in long hours and late nights when the legislature is in session. It can be a lot of work for a part-time job, especially considering lawmakers haven't had a pay raise since 2009.
"People get into this not for the money, but to serve other folks at the genuine level. They don't do it for the money," said Rep. Bob McDermott.
Currently, each Senator and Representative, with the exception of the Senate President and House Speaker, makes $46,272. Cuts in 2009 froze pay at that level where it has remains.
On Monday, the state salary commission recommended lawmakers get paid $55,896 starting July 1, which is when those salary reductions end.
That amount is what lawmakers would be getting if their salary had been gradually increased.
Several lawmakers feel the nearly $10,000 pay increase would help attract the best and brightest to the State Capitol, something echoed by some residents.
"I think it's a good idea because if I was a lawmaker I would have a hard job. I would want a pay raise too, so all the power to them. I hope they make good decisions for us," said Makiki resident Lisa Yelas.
Not everyone feels lawmakers need to make more money, including some at the State Capitol.
"I think our pay is fine the way it is. It is a part-time job. It's a very good salary for a part-time job. The problem is too many people make it a full-time profession," said McDermott.