MADISON, Wis. — In an interview late last week with a right-wing radio show host, Sen. Steve Nass declared he’s just “doing my job” by pushing legislation to cut Wisconsin worker pay. Despite the fastest shrinking middle class in the nation and bipartisan opposition, Nass is seeking to fast track legislation (Senate Bill 49) this week to repeal wage protections for Wisconsin workers in the Senate Committee on Labor, that he ironically chairs.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Not a single politician, Steve Nass included, ran for election in 2014 by telling voters they wanted to go to Madison to cut worker pay. But Sen. Nass is now saying he thinks it’s his job to ram through a bill that would do just that and repeal the state prevailing wage law.”
The state prevailing wage law targeted for repeal by Nass requires that skilled workers employed on certain jobs, like highway and state and local building projects, be paid a “prevailing wage,” calculated by the state and based on the wages paid for workers in the same occupations in the same area as the project. The law also requires that workers be paid overtime for working more than 10 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
While pushing to cut Wisconsin worker pay, Nass – who has spent nearly a quarter century in the legislature – is being well compensated. His job as a state legislator has no set work hours and is not considered to be full time. Assuming Nass works two-thirds time to earn his $50,950 salary, his hourly pay rate is $38.60. He also snags benefits, 38.73 percent of salary according to the State Senate policy manual, and a free parking spot worth $957.96 in the shadow of the State Capitol. Based on these amounts, Nass is netting $63.17 every hour to try to cut Wisconsin worker pay.
Based on documents from the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau, Nass has taken home in excess of $1,050,000 in salary alone over his career and enjoyed nine separate raises in his taxpayer-funded salary, hiking his pay 51 percent. This does not include the amounts Nass receives in per diem payment for showing up at work and mileage reimbursements for driving there.
“Sen. Nass is the poster boy for what’s wrong in the State Capitol today. He’s doing the bidding of the special interests that want to pay their workers less to pad their profits. And he’s happy to take home a nice salary and cushy benefits, paid for by the people whose pay he’s trying to cut,” concluded Ross.