Regarding your recent editorial about state lawmakers' salaries, as far back as the late 1960s an independent group from Rutgers University evaluated Maryland General Assembly members' pay and concluded that the then salary of $2,400 a year should be increased to $11,000 and the length of sessions be increased from 70 days to 90 days ("Raising legislative pay," Dec. 18).

In 1975, salaries were raised to $12,500, but unfortunately no provisions were put in place for future salary adjustments. In 1975, a cost of living index was established for Social Security recipients and has remained in effect ever since. However, not one Legislative Compensation Commission since then has recommended the COLA apply to legislative salaries.

If any of the commissions after 1975 had applied the COLA to legislative salaries, today's commissioners wouldn't be debating salaries but rather fine tuning structure and other benefits. Had the commissioners made the transition to the COLA in 1975, today's legislators would be receiving an annual salary of $57,620.

Now is the time to make this transition. It not only is fair to the public but also places Maryland legislators in the very same position as the more than 60 million recipients of Social Security.

John F.X. O'Brien, Parkville

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