MONTGOMERY — After campaigning against the 62% legislative pay raise in 2010, the Republican supermajority still seems unwilling to repeal a pay increase that’s costing taxpayers $2 million a year — and Senator Shadrack McGill (R — Woodville) is now claiming it’s necessary to deter lawmakers from unethical behavior.
In remarks at a DeKalb county prayer breakfast earlier this week, McGill defended the pay raise by suggesting it made legislators immune to corrupt influence, all while citing Biblical principals as a reason to keep teachers’ pay low.
“I’m stunned Senator McGill would use Biblical teachings as an excuse to attack public teachers’ salaries,” said Alabama Democrats Chairman Mark Kennedy. “Apparently a pay raise in exchange for ‘raising someone’s child for eight hours a day,’ as he puts it, might draw wicked people into our schools … but somehow a 62 percent raise is supposed to keep wicked people out of our legislature.”
Kennedy added, “I can’t decide who I’m more offended for, our educators or the sitting legislators whose integrity the Senator so casually calls into question.”
McGill, who co-sponsered the bill ending the teachers’ deferred retirement program DROP, said increasing legislative pay was necessary to “better reward” lawmakers and make them less inclined to accept bribes from lobbyists. State lawmakers now make $49,500 a year, over $13,000 more annually than a first-year teacher’s starting salary.
“Maybe the Senator could offer me some remedial Sunday school classes,” said Kennedy. “But I wasn’t aware ‘you cannot serve both God and money’ only applied to public school teachers. I don’t think educators are the only ones who need to be called to serve, and Senator McGill’s lack of faith in his colleagues isn’t doing much to inspire confidence in his abilities as a legislator.”