OUR VIEW: Gutless vote proves they don’t deserve it

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Our legislative leaders proved their worth last week when they took a voice vote to pass a pay-raise for themselves.

When it comes to leading, we do not believe in anonymous votes any more than we believe in abstaining from votes for any reason other than a conflict of interest.

If a person decides to run for office and is elected, then that person should have the intestinal fortitude to make a public vote on every issue that comes before them. Anything less is unacceptable.

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In the case of passing oneself a salary increase, the vote should be recorded. Undoubtedly, the people of Alabama agree. According to the Associated Press, receptionists at the Alabama House said they received at least 100 calls Friday and 50 or more on Monday from residents wanting to convey their unhappiness about the vote.

We are not opposed to a pay increase for our legislators. While the position is technically part-time, most legislators work more than part-time hours in their districts. Furthermore, the last time legislators received a pay raise was in 1990.

However, the pay raise passed last week would be a 62-percent increase &045; from an average annual salary of $30,500 to $49,334. While we understand the cost of living has increased in the last 17 years, it has not increased 62 percent.

When lawmakers are prepared to increase the salary of state workers by that same amount &045; and to fund the increase without raising taxes or cutting services &045; then we’ll entertain to their astronomical increase.

Until that time, they would be better served to look at a pay increase that is more in line with the increase in the cost of living over the last 17 years.

But keep in mind &045; we don’t care if they vote to raise their salary by a mere dollar. If they are too cowardly to do it with a recorded vote, then they don’t deserve the salary they draw today.