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Citing State Income Drop, Patrick Cuts Lawmakers' Pay

Gov. Deval Patrick and Massachusetts lawmakers are getting a pay cut as they start their new terms.

Patrick certified Monday that median household income in the state had fallen by a half a percentage point during the past two years.

Under a constitutional amendment, base salaries for House and Senate members will have to be trimmed by that amount. And the governor's salary is tied to that of lawmakers by statute.

Lawmakers have been receiving a base salary of $61,440. It will be cut by $307. Many members also receive bonuses up to $7,500 for committee chairmanships or floor posts.

Patrick has been paid $140,535 annually. He faces a $700 pay cut.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo says the reduction "is not unexpected given the current economic climate."

Senate President Therese Murray also says it's "no surprise." Murray said the pay cut should reaffirm Beacon Hill's goals.

"Well that's our job," she said. "Our job is to create, to help to create an environment to create jobs, and that's what we have to spend a good deal of our time this next session working on."

House Republican leader Rep. Brad Jones called the cut a step in the right direction.

"I think it symbolizes a different direction and different paradigm that we're facing here and needs to also be considered in the context of furloughs that most legislators and every Republican legislator took during the last session," Jones said.

WBUR's Steve Brown contributed reporting.

This program aired on January 3, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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