Taxpayers need refund after do-nothing session

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Without a doubt the recently adjourned legislative session will go down in the annuals of Alabama history as one of the most embarrassing efforts in legislative history.

Instead of a proactive session where Republicans and Democrats worked together for the people of Alabama, what we got was a legislature whose only accomplishment was to line their own pockets, voting themselves a 62 percent pay raise that will catapult their compensation to around $55,000 a year. Consider that the median annual income (this is for people who work year round) for Alabamians is just over $21,000 and you begin to see why this legislature needs a serious overhaul.

Think that is outrageous? Wait, there’s more. They also voted themselves a sweet deal on what amounts to free health insurance, saying they deserve to be treated like other state employees who pay nothing for single coverage health insurance. We suppose it’s beside the point that they only “work” three months a year, and when they do show up at the office (many don’t attend the full session) they spend most of the time involved in adolescent bickering with each other and wind up getting nothing done.

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Most legislators say they deserve to be well compensated for their work and that they haven’t had a pay raise in more than 15 years. If that’s the case, then why is there never a shortage of “community servants” who seek office every election cycle? Let’s face it; it’s not a hard job to fill.

Another excuse legislators are using for their selfish action is that it is good for the future of the legislature.

Those who voted to override Gov. Riley’s veto of the pay raise said a better compensation package would entice more “middle class” Alabamians to run for office. We hope they’re right because many of the Alabamians who are in office now need to be shown the door.

Hopefully that will happen, maybe it won’t, but Alabamians need to remember what their legislature is doing to and for them when they go to the polls next. You can be sure we won’t forget.