MONTGOMERY – A proposal to repeal the 2007 legislative pay raise and allow voters to determine how lawmakers are paid is up for a vote in the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday, the 17th day of the 2012 Regular Session.
House Bill 276, a constitutional amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison), would:
• Tie legislative pay to median family income so it would increase or decrease based on how Alabamians fare economically.
• Modernize the reimbursement system so that lawmakers are treated like any other state employee for travel, hotel stays, etc.
• Repeal automatic cost-of-living adjustments built into the 2007 pay raise and take away every legislative “expense allowance” ever enacted.
This plan not only undoes the badly-concocted 2007 pay increase that rightfully angered constituents throughout the state, but it also provides a permanent fix to the issue of legislative compensation by tying lawmakers’ pay to the economic wellbeing of Alabamians, Rep. Ball said.
“Tying legislators’ salaries to the median income level in the state serves as a form of performance pay, which rises or falls depending upon how Alabama’s economy performs,” Rep. Ball said. “What an incentive to improve Alabama’s economy and increase how much the average Alabama family takes home. If we had originally approved this plan rather than the pay raise the Democrats forced through when they were in charge, salaries for lawmakers would have actually decreased by 8 percent, the same amount Alabama’s median income has dropped since the economic recession began.”
When it comes to filing for expenses, lawmakers will finally have to operate under the same requirements imposed on all state employees. By requiring signed vouchers to be submitted, legislative compensation will be more transparent than ever before.
Being transparent and upfront with taxpayers is the right approach to dealing with the sticky issue of legislative compensation, House Speaker Mike Hubbard said.
“We took issue with what the Democrats did in 2007 primarily because of the sneaky nature of voting it thought by voice vote and having it apply immediately instead of for the next term,” Speaker Hubbard said. “That kind of arrogance contributed to the election a new class of lawmakers and a new leadership team in 2010. Voters should decide how to compensate legislators, and I believe having the pay rise or fall with the job we do with the state’s economy is a great idea.”
The House convenes at 9:00 a.m. Thursday.