Today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed Senate Bill 672, which would have more than doubled the salaries of state legislators. The bill would have increased legislator’s pay from $16 thousand a year to over $37 thousand.
Sponsored by Senator Ann Duplessis of New Orleans, the bill originally proposed tripling legislator pay. That proposition was later amended to only double the increase. If the bill had been signed into law, Louisiana legislators would be among the highest paid in the South.
“I have opposed this pay raise at every turn and from the very beginning. A doubling of legislative pay is clearly excessive and it takes effect prior to the next election, which I believe is bad policy,” Jindal said in an Office of the Governor press release. “This bill would also have set up a system to give legislators automatic pay raises in the future without additional legislative votes – which is a lack of accountability that we cannot accept.”
The Governor’s reform agenda had received little opposition or criticism until this point. Jindal had repeatedly pledged that he would not intervene in the proceedings of the legislature. Apparently a change in heart came earlier today when the Governor vetoed the bill. Perhaps the Governor was afraid of upsetting legislators, who might retaliate against future reform efforts. Our state government should be reminded that they are servants of the public’s trust, not one another. Jindal should not be afraid to utilize his responsibilities as Governor through checks and balances. Today’s reversal in opinion may have come too late to escape the minds of voters.
Share your thoughts on the situation. Have Louisiana’s lawmakers earned a pay raise? Did Governor Jindal act quickly enough to address the proposed increase?