Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jindal won't veto legislative pay raise

Gov. Bobby Jindal says he will not block a legislative pay raise approved Monday from becoming law.

With a 20-18 vote, senators agreed with a House-passed amendment that reduced Senate Bill 672 from a $50,700 base salary to $37,500 - up from the current 16,800 base. On top of that, lawmakers receive an automatic $6,000 for expenses and $500 a month for office expenses if they provide receipts.

"I will keep my pledge to let them govern themselves and make their own decisions as a separate branch of government," he said. "I will not let anything, even this clearly excessive pay raise, stop us from moving Louisiana forward with a clear plan for reform."

Prior to the 20-18 vote, Republican state Sens. Gerald Long of Nachitoches and Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge urged senators to reject the proposal.

"People feel that they have not been heard," Cassidy said. "We have done a lot of good things" but people will only remember the pay raise.

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