How Much Will the IQA Cost?
States with Initiatives Project IQA Cost Estimates
This table of iqa cost shows the estimated funding that could be needed for contingency initiative projects in States that have the initiative process but whose legislatures are reluctant to endorse the Amendment.
|CONTINGENCY INITIATIVE COST ESTIMATES|
|STATES WITH DIRECT INITIATIVES||INDIRECT||CONTINGENCY|
|Sources of Data:|
|Schevitz, Jan A., The Fourth Branch of Government. May 2000|
|Kearsley, Steve, San Francisco Chronicle. May 18-20, 1998|
|Initiatives & Referendum Institute|
Note: The estimates are based on the largest and smallest costs referenced in the sources, and are linearly interpolated on the basis of States’ populations.
First Reference Point—Based on 2004 Data
The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly (BCCA) in 2004 was the only recent comparable organization to the IQA. Its budget was $CAN 5.5 million. The Canadian dollar was about 80 percent of the U.S. Dollar, but U.S. wages tend to be somewhat higher than Canadian wages. For the purposes of roughly estimating U.S. costs, the Canadian dollar will be taken at par.
The BCCA had 160 members, who each served about 30 days over 11 months and were each paid an honorarium of $150 for a total of $720,000. By comparison, the IQA will have 480 members, who will each serve about 60 days over 12 months and will be paid $300 plus a potential bonus for a total of about $12,096,000.
One thing that is immediately apparent is that the BCCA administrative costs were far more than the Member’s remuneration. Assuming the IQA budget is $60 million per year, then the following table shows a comparison:
|Comparison of BCCA and IQA Budgets (2004 Data)|
|Member-Days per Year||4800||34560||7.2|
|Daily Pay Rate and Bonus||150||350||2.3|
|Pay as % of Budget||0.131||0.202||1.5|
These comparisons appear reasonable. The BCCA membership was more along the size that would be expected in a State as compared with a much larger nationwide Assembly. The BCCA was a one-off organization, so it is reasonable to expect their overheads to be higher than the IQA. The higher IQA Service Days and Member-Days per Year will be expected to be able to process several times more Initiatives per year than the BCCA.
Cost Estimate Breakdown
***A table will be added here.***
Cost of Running Congress
This is an area where current estimates are hard to find. The Cato Institute estimate the cost at $2.8 billion per year in 1993. It is reasonable to assume a 50 percent increase from 1993 to 2004, equating to $4.2 billion in 2004. The 2004 salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $158,100 per year. Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees.