Pay raise closer to repeal?

Published 11:00 pm Friday, April 27, 2012

Voters in Pike County will see a constitutional amendment on their November ballots dealing with how much legislators are paid.

The Alabama Senate and House agreed Thursday night on a proposed constitutional amendment that would repeal the 61 percent raise the Legislature gave itself back in 2007.

Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, was the Senate sponsor for the amendment and pushed hard for this possible change.

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“I promised the voters that, if elected, I would fight to pass ethics reform and repeal the pay raise,” Taylor said. “The people demanded a new level of accountability in Montgomery, and they didn’t settle for less. That’s how this got done.”

Taylor calls the proposal “performance pay for lawmakers.” The constitutional amendment would tie legislators’ pay to the state’s median household income and would give them the same travel reimbursement as state employees.

“If this had been the law in 2007, legislators would have gotten a 9 percent pay cut over the last four years rather than a 61 percent pay raise,” Taylor said. “That’s because this bill links legislative pay to the economic well-being of the people we serve. If we create jobs, build a stronger economy, and improve the quality of life for the people we serve, we share in that success.”

The proposal would lower the average annual compensation for lawmakers from about $53,000 annually to nearly $46,000 and would prohibit the Legislature from raising its own pay again.

If approved, the constitutional amendment would take effect in 2014.

“Most importantly, this takes legislative pay out of the hands of the Legislature forever and gives it back to the people, where it belongs.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.