San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Legislative Assembly

New lawmakers present bill to eliminate automatic wage increases for themselves

The National Liberation Party’s (PLN) top lawmaker, Juan Luis Jiménez Succar, on Thursday submitted his party’s first bill to reform the “Lawmakers’ Salaries Law” in order to eliminate automatic wage increases of 5 percent that legislators receive twice a year.

The bill recommends that lawmakers receive the same salary increases approved by the National Wage Council for all other public employees.

New lawmakers, who took office on May 1, already will receive higher salaries than their predecessors, which as of this month will be ₡3.7 million ($7,000) per month. The next automatic increase is in November and would total ₡3.9 million ($7,500).

“We believe that our country’s finances are exploding, and we have a fiscal deficit that, according to projections by the Central Bank, could exceed 10 percent this year,” Jiménez said on Thursday morning.

The bill could be put up for discussion by the full Assembly as early as next Wednesday, the beginning of the ordinary period of legislative sessions. Lawmakers are expected to spend at least the first two days of next week discussing outgoing President Laura Chinchilla’s last State of the Nation, to be delivered on Thursday evening. Chinchilla leaves office on May 8.

If approved, the bill would enter into force when published in the official newspaper La Gaceta. That would mean lawmakers’ next wage increase would be the same as other public-sector workers, which was passed by executive decree earlier this year. Public salary increases are discussed every six months by the National Wage Council.

In addition to monthly salaries, the Legislative Assembly provides each lawmaker with 500 liters of free gasoline per month and ₡161,000 ($300) for monthly office and cellphone bills.

Taxpayers also pay the salaries of up to five advisers for each lawmaker and other expenses including snacks and drinks served during daily sessions, meetings and social gatherings.

The bill submitted by Jiménez contrasts with a proposal by previous PLN lawmakers in 2010, which sought a salary increase from ₡2.5 million to ₡4.3 million. That proposal, which was widely criticized by taxpayers, was not approved.

Contact L. Arias at

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Not enough. PAC lets get real. Lower pay now for Congress until 3% unemployment in CR just a thought. PAC needs to show they get what is going in In Costa Rica. PLN will never do anything for the people. PAC had 1.3million votes they need to show they understand what is going on in Costa Rica

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Yet no bill to reduce their wages. Why am I not surprised? All political parties are corrupt. You’d be a fool to think otherwise.

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I agree with you and most Costa Rican agree with you.

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Not a bad deal at all considering that their automatic wage increases are pegged to the public sector salary increases which grows at THREE TIMES the rate of their private counterparts. Augusto de la Torre, chief economist at the World Bank, confirms that Costa Rica is the only country in latin america that public sector employees earn more then their private sector counterparts. Sadly the high cost of public sector employees will inevitable lead the country to a financial crisis unless drastic, and surely unpopular, changes take place. For those readers that understand spanish this rather interesting article just published the other day exposing the dire reality of this unsustainable trend.

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Matthew Frederick

PLN trying to save face now and make themselves look good, do they forget it was PLN that put this into place? Lets hope people do not forget the damage PLN has done to Costa Rica for the last decade

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Colin Brownlee

Hmmmmm let’s see… Countries social index is higher then Latin countries… Despite a worsening environment, Chincillia decreased violent crime rate.

Why don’t you give a list of exactly how the PLN governed any worse then previous presidents. Were you here for Pacheco?

Same old thing… Easy to obstruct and point fingers, but as always… Just like Republicans … No solutions.

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