JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri lawmakers and state elected officials likely will receive a pay increase after some state Senate Democrats successfully filibustered Wednesday, stalling efforts to block the raise.
A state commission in November recommended $4,000 more a year for legislators and 8 percent more for the governor and other state officials in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. That would be a raise of more than $22,000 a year for the governor, upping the office's annual pay to $156,088.
Suggested increases will take effect automatically if lawmakers don't block the raises by Sunday. House members voted overwhelmingly, 133-15, in support of a resolution to forego higher pay, but those efforts have met resistance in the Senate.
Senate Democrats spoke at length Wednesday in favor of a pay raise. Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said the current $35,915 a year isn't enough, considering the work lawmakers do, and she raised concerns that the pay might discourage qualified candidates from running for office.
Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat, says lawmakers should get a raise, even though it's politically unsavory and could be used against them in re-election campaigns.
"Are we making political decision in what we think is in best interest of our own careers or making a decision in the best interest of the state in terms of recruiting good people to this job?" Holsman asked senators Wednesday.
Voters amended the state constitution in 1994 to relieve lawmakers of the politically sticky issue of setting their own salaries. The last time legislators and executive-branch officials got a raise was the 2009 fiscal year.
Still, senators from both parties said taking no action and allowing the raises to take effect could reflect poorly on them.
Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph headed Senate efforts to block the salary increase, saying lawmakers don't need more money, especially at a time when Gov. Jay Nixon has cited lagging revenues when freezing funds for existing programs.
Schaaf said it's "almost embarrassing" for legislators to take a raise when Nixon hasn't proposed upping state employee pay next fiscal year.
But Schaaf also said after the filibuster that he doesn't plan to try halting the pay increase again.
Although the deadline for lawmakers to act is Sunday, senators effectively have until Thursday, which is the last day they're scheduled to meet this week.