Legislative pay raise no April Fool's joke

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Wednesday may be April Fool's Day but there's no joking when we say it's also pay raise day for the Alabama legislature.

In a time when Alabama's unemployment is at a twenty-year high and climbing, all 140 state lawmakers will receive a bump in their salary.

"I voted against it," said Rep. Barry Mask (R) of Wetumpka. " I think this also shows that right now we got this gambling bill. People are saying let the people vote. You know that sounds real noble. We didn't let the people vote on our pay raise now did we?"

Others like Rep. John Rogers (D) of Birmingham felt otherwise. "Just because you're in the legislature doesn't mean you don't have to pay bills. You don't have to pay for a hotel room. You don't have to buy food. You don't have to pay your bills back at home. So, therefore most of us are here without making income back at home."

The measure is part of the controversial 2007 legislative measure that saw lawmakers vote themselves in a 61 percent pay raise.

The yearly increases are tied  to the consumer price index. In 2008 the men and women on Goat Hill took home an extra $108 per month. In 2009 that number will jump another $150 per month.

The new increase brings the total that legislators receive for their expenses to $4,108 per month plus $50 per day for up to three days that they meet. That is in addition to the $10 per day they already receive each calendar day for a salary.