(Alexandria, Va.) -- As the Louisiana State Legislature's session gives way to the sleepy days of summer, lawmakers are poised to vote themselves a massive $28 million salary increase -- one that would make them the eighth-highest paid in the country. The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is calling on the state House of Representatives to reject the inordinate raise, which already has passed the Senate, and has activated its more than 3,200 Bayou State members to do the same.
"At a time when many Louisianans are struggling with a slowing economy and rising energy prices, the Legislature should not be using its power to vote itself a huge pay bump with tax dollars that should be better spent on legislative priorities," NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan said. "Louisiana lawmakers already earn more than their counterparts with similar workloads in Arkansas and Texas. If Senate Bill 672 passes, their pay and per-diem combination will be the highest by far in southeastern states and among the top 10 in the entire country."
The bill would give state legislators -- who work part-time -- a pay hike worth $28.2 million over the next five years beginning July 1. Representatives and Senators would earn between $50,000 and $76,000, depending on their position, and their salaries would be pegged to a percentage of what Members of Congress make -- ensuring an annual raise unless federal lawmakers enact legislation to prevent their automatic increase (something that's happened only twice in 10 years). State legislators also would continue to reap the benefits of generous expense accounts of $6,000 to $12,000 per year.
"A part-time legislator does not deserve to make more than many families do for an entire year of hard work," Moylan concluded. "The Louisiana Senate should be ashamed that it passed this deplorable legislation, which hopefully will see its defeat on the House floor."
The House is expected to consider the raise tomorrow morning. Should Representatives approve it, NTU will urge Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) to reconsider his previous stance and veto the bill.
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For more information on NTU, visit www.ntu.org.