Thursday, June 12, 2008

Come Again? (Updated)

Doubtless, everyone has seen this news by now:
By increasing lawmakers' base salary from $16,800 to $50,700, Senate Bill 672 challenges the concept of a Legislature comprised of citizens performing part-time public service in favor of representation that is compensated like a full-time job.

Even without considering the overall expense payments and per diems in the package, which would push the new compensation to about $67,000, the raise would put Louisiana in the top 10 among states nationwide in legislative pay, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislators.
I'm not one who believes that pay increases should be linked only to merit, nor am I one who believes that because I make a substandard wage, everyone else should as well.

On this matter, though, hold the fucking phone! This is the same legislature who is cutting 240 million from health care and education in Louisiana? That includes ensuring stagnant salaries and hiring freezes and other cutbacks that compel state employees to do more than one person's work in exchange for one person's salary!

FYI, Louisiana Legislature: You want your pay to meet national standards? As a state employee, I have yet to reach the same income that I received in Florida, that mecca of high pay, ten years ago for doing the same job. When you can manage to fix that problem, rather than deliberately making it worse, I'll get behind you on a pay raise.

But wait, I don't have to get behind you. You're behind yourselves. So go ahead and fuck off.

Update: Daily Kingfish weighed in with a less reactive solution:
I say drop the percentage to 20% of Congressional pay, which would still be a raise for Louisiana legislators, who have not seen a raise in pay since 1993. That would bring their base pay to $33,860, and with the expense account and per diem, which regularly adds an additional $18,000 to $21,000 to their base pay, legislators will still be sitting pretty.

Oh, and one more thing ... these pay raises should not go into effect until after the next round of elections, which would be 2012. That's only fair, as legislators wouldn't know if they were voting to raise their own pay or not. The voters can make that determination.
As did Editor B:
I guess I’m in a very small minority with this opinion, but I actually support our Louisiana state legislature’s efforts to give themselves a huge salary increase. It’s not because I think they deserve a reward them for a job well done. It’s not because I like big government or higher taxes. It’s because when I looked into the prospect of running for the legislature myself (yes, I know, ha ha ha) I have to admit the salary was a nonstarter. I understand public service entails some sacrifices, but the pay really is paltry — a joke. What is it, like $23K? Oh, it’s supposed to be a part-time job, but that’s a joke too.

I certainly understand the kneejerk reaction against the pay raise. But I find myself, surprisingly, in the camp that says we get what we pay for, and maybe if the job paid a decent wage we’d getter a better quality of applicant.


Professor Zero said...

Perhaps we should become legislators.

A.F. said...

Sounds like we may be overqualified.