$12,000 annual salary limits for state lawmakers who can afford to serve |

Third-party ads that targeted State Senator Tony Vargas during his recent run for U.S. Congress featured voices of disbelief, bewildered by a seemingly selfish decision: He wanted to “double his own salary” with taxpayers’ money.

What the ads didn’t say: Nebraska’s 49 lawmakers have been paid $12,000 a year since George HW Bush was first elected president, leggings were all the rage, and “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley was aired without irony by the boomboxes. If their salaries had kept pace with inflation since 1988, senators today would earn more than $30,000.

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