Ignoring a firestorm of public opposition, the Senate voted 20-18 Monday for a bill that would more than double legislators’ pay starting July 1 with annual increases built in.
That sends the hot-button issue to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said again he will not veto a raise he calls “clearly excessive.”
In a written statement issued after the vote Jindal said he was “very sorry to see the Legislature do this. More than doubling legislative pay is not reasonable and the public has been clear on that.
“I will keep my pledge to let them govern themselves and make their own decisions as a separate branch of government. I will not let anything, even this clearly excessive pay raise, stop us from moving forward with a clear plan of reform.”
Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, asked colleagues to go along with House changes in her Senate Bill 672 that reduced the proposed legislative pay from $50,700 a year to $37,500. Lawmakers currently get a base salary of $16,800 a year.
Although floor debate was almost nonexistent in both houses, Duplessis suggested that people — many of whom have jammed radio talk shows, Internet blogs and the Capitol switchboard — just don’t understand how much time lawmakers put in to the part-time job.
“We will not let a few radio (talk show) people dictate what we know is important,” Duplessis said after the vote. She said lawmakers have been in session off and on since February and will probably be called back for one or two special sessions before a regular fiscal session next year.
She said the pay raise is needed to help lawmakers offset pay lost from their regular jobs.
“We should be focusing now on moving forward with the people’s business,” she said. “Once people understand what we do, what our schedules are like . . . they will understand.”
This is nothing new–legislators have always made sure that they are taken care of while the population suffers with a sagging economy. Now askyourself–are these “people” doing a good job? If not then throw the bumns out and start over.