Repeal yearly increase

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Now is just not a good time for people to give themselves pay raises — especially if they’re elected officials in the state of Alabama.

We’re proud that our locally elected officials, including state representatives Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), Mike Hill (R-Columbiana) and Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Indian Springs), as well as State Sen. Hank Erwin (R-Montevallo), chose to turn down this year’s annual pay increase.

Alabama’s legislators make, on average, $52,500 yearly for a part-time job. Considering that the U.S. Census Bureau reports the median household income in Alabama is right around $40,000, we’d have to say that was a politically astute decision our local legislators made.

However, we’re interested in taking things even further. We’re encouraged by the public comments Ward and Erwin have made saying they didn’t support the 62 percent pay increase in 2007 and they don’t support the annual pay increases now.

We encourage them, along with other like-minded legislators, to spearhead a movement to repeal the annual pay increase. During these times of growing unemployment (Alabama’s unemployment rate is now at 8.5 percent) and political upheaval, it’s morally wrong for legislators to line their coffers when their constituents do without.

When taxpayers note that legislators’ bank accounts are growing much faster than their own, it won’t be long before plenty of elected officials are out of a well-paying, part-time job.