Monday, January 15, 2007

Perhaps I'm being too optimistic

If we're going to increase Alabama legislators' salaries by almost 60 percent, we need to do two things first: 1) Make the jobs full-time positions to try to slash concerns about conflicts of interest, and 2) pay to hire a full-time staffer for each lawmaker so our legislators won't be quite so reliant on lobbyists and industry groups to research issues and write bills for them. (Stronger ethics rules and enforcement mechanisms also could cover the first part if you didn't want to commit to a full-time assemblage.)

If we did those two things, I'd be fine with a substantial uptick in legislative pay. As it is, with lawmakers pulling in a little more than $30,000 a year and having to manipulate their schedules to take off from their full-time jobs for a few months at a time, most everyday Alabamians simply don't have the wherewithal or flexibility to offer themselves up for public office. Higher pay and full-time status could attract interest from good candidates who otherwise couldn't put their lives on hold to serve.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Alabama Moderate said...

From what I understand, their pay is right in line with state legislators accross the country. Considering that this is a part-time job, and the average Alabamian makes about the same amount/year for a full-time position, I don't see a need for a raise anytime soon. If anything, what the numbers show is that, while expenses have gone up, our lawmakers have been overpaid for quite some time, and it's finally starting to level off.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I couldn't agree more, Alabamian.

8:27 PM  

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