Members of the House of Representatives currently receive an annual salary of $174,000. In addition, they receive health insurance, retirement benefits and paid time off. The total compensation is about $285,000. In an article published by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance in July 2011, it states "Members of the United States Congress are among the highest-paid legislators in the world."
In 2009, the financial crisis severely impacted my business, reducing revenue by about 40% over previous years. I was faced with the decision of laying people off, reducing salaries for every employee, or being a servant leader. I knew if I laid two people off, they would have to struggle to find another job in the poor economic situation and it would reduce my company's ability to serve our clients when the demand for services increased. If I chose to reduce everyone's wages, then every employee would be impacted and some would have to sell their car or move back home.
After a discussion with my business partner, we decided that we would not draw a salary until revenue increased. We went six months without a paycheck and significantly reduced our salaries for another three months. We were the two lowest paid full-time company employees in 2009.
Because of the provisions of the 27th Amendment, any changes in Congressional salaries cannot go into effect until the next term of the House of Representatives. In other words, if the members of today's Congress vote for a reduction in salary, the reductions will not go into effect until the next Congress is sworn in January 2013.
I have written my Congressman, David Dreier, asking for his opinion on the various bills now pending that reduce Congressional salaries. I believe as Americans, we are facing difficult economic times, and it is only proper that our government representatives share the burden.