Legislators’ pay hike excessive

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 22, 2007

Does the Alabama Legislature deserve a raise?

They have not had one in 16 years, so by most standards, we would say they do need a pay hike.

On Tuesday, the body overrode the governor’s veto to give House and Senate members a 62 percent pay raise.

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But what have they done for the citizens of this state to merit that raise?

Is your standard of living better because of action taken by members of the Legislature?

Do we have more business? More jobs? Are our senior citizens provided for? Is our education system improved?

Lawmakers supporting the raise said it was needed because they had not received a raise in compensation since 1991, but opponents said it was excessive.

The raise would hike the compensation of lawmakers from $30,710 to $49,500 a year. Depending on whether special sessions are called, the raise amounts to an increase of 61 percent or 62 percent.

But $30,710 is just about an average salary in the state of Alabama. And the position of state representative is not a full-time job, although certainly those dedicated to the job put in full-time hours.

They meet a couple of months out of the year – a few additional days if a special session is called.

Our elected officials should not rely on this part-time job alone for their income. Most have other jobs.

After 16 years, a pay raise is warranted. But 61

percent to 62 percent? Most working people are fortunate to get a 5 percent increase in salary.

A smaller pay increase, implemented over time, would have been a more reasonable solution.