Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Precedent and the Pay Raise Controversy

I agree with Oyster on this one. The legislative pay raise that just passed the LA House and Senate is a total non-story.

First of all, these are full-time jobs and should pay a salary that puts food on the table for a family. Though it is a privilege to serve as a representative of your neighbors, it should not be a prerequisite that you already be economically privileged. I would be honored to serve in Baton Rouge on behalf of New Orleans but I think it's kind of backward that it represent be a pay cut. (Particularly if the expectation is that elected representatives work their butts off)

Second, that the modest pay increase is an outrage to some people is laughable. The amount of coverage it has received is silly.

You want an outrageous legislative pay increase?

Look no further than Pennsylvania, 2005.

Public outrage over a hefty pay raise Pennsylvania lawmakers voted themselves a month ago — in the dead of night — has nagged them throughout their summer vacation and shows no signs of going away.

Not only did legislators increase their salaries 16 percent to 34 percent to at least $81,050 — more than any state except California — they crafted the package in secret without debate or public scrutiny, then left town.

Without public debate, PA legislators gave themselves the second highest salaries in the country in a vote that occurred in the middle of the night on the last day of the session. That's outrage-inducing.

And with that outrage, PA voters did more than complain. They rolled up their sleeves and organized their communities for one of the most successful bipartisan voter revolts I've ever heard of. It was so successful that when legislators were forced to repeal their own wage hike, they still couldn't save their jobs.

What occurred this week in Louisiana was transparent and, in my opinion, necessary.

And of all the things to be upset about in this state. . .


suspect device said...

They're not full-time jobs, they're part-time. And they increased their salaries by 100%, not 16-34%.

It's not the amount of money they're getting which is outrageous. It's the timing. When people in this state have it so damn hard, for this new "ethical" legislature to vote themselves (without debate or public scrutiny) a 100% raise (and remember, they wanted a 200% raise) is a serious insult, shows a legislature way out of touch with the needs of their constituency, and sends a hostile message to the people.

E said...

I argue that these should be considered full time jobs with a pay level that can provide for normal people without huge bank accounts to start.

Civitch said...

I am in full support of paying elected officials what they're worth. But these yahoos went about it the wrong way.

Jim Tucker misled the public about the results of a task force recommendation on a pay raise.

If they'd agreed to forgo their expense accounts and per diems, I would have considered supporting it.

As for if this really is a full-time job, then it should be a requirement that the legislators quit any other employment they might have.

They bungled this so badly and have infuriated the voters. And don't even get me started on Jellyfish Jindal.