Dueling opinions on legislative compensation

Posted by Max Reiss – bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – There are two proposals in the legislature on how to deal with the pay raise a different group of lawmakers passed in 2007.

Two Republican senators are the ones with the ideas.

Sen. Gerald Dial from Lineville said days after he was elected to the Senate that he would repeal the pay-raise.

Dial said he doesn't buy the argument that new lawmakers were looking forward to the amount of compensation.

"Every legislator knew when he or she was elected they could change that. They could come down and increase that a hundred percent or reduce it a hundred percent so the fact they knew what it was was fine, but they also had to realize logically that it could be changed."

Dial is serving his second round in the legislature as he was elected to the Senate in 1990's.

Sen. Paul Sanford from Madison was elected in 2009 during a Special Election and owns a restaurant.

"I don't know what I would do if there was a repeal" Sanford said.

He's sponsoring a separate measure that would match legislative compensation with the rate of proration in the General Fund.

"If state agencies have to face cuts then we should too" Sanford said.

A repeal he argued wouldn't be fair to him or the other new lawmakers who are sacrificing time from their regular jobs in order to serve in a demanding part-time role in the legislature.

Sanford said "If you cut this pay back to 07 then I believe myself and many other legislators are going to be put in a situation where we're going to have to resign. And if I'm going to have to resign then the state's going to have to have a special session."

Lawmakers receive a fixed salary but have an expense account that could not exceed $52,596. In 2007 the limit was $30,710.

Dial who sponsored the repeal said he doesn't oppose the proration idea.

"I'm not against it at all. I want both of them to be considered."

Sen. Scott Beason who chairs the Senate Rules Committee assigned a subcommittee specifically devoted to the pay-raise issue.

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