One of the most frustrating events in government is when the legislature tells the people to be prepared to sacrifice then have that same legislature give itself a raise. Who wouldn't give themselves a raise if given the choice.
While I don't have what I consider to be the one way of determining legislators pay, I'm sure plenty of people would have some suggestions. Here is one possible idea: Legislators receive the same pay as the "average" citizen in the United States. Average should be determined by the median income, not the mean, so that extremely large income earners do not skew what the "average" citizen truly earns.
Legislators must also pay taxes like everyone else and must not be allowed to give themselves tax exemptions.
Legislators cannot accept positions or any other kind of income from a company who has contributed to their campaigns.
Legislators should not receive retirement compensation in any form (other than whatever retirement they've contributed to--not a special package for politicians). Politics should not be a career.