Just try to follow the blather from these anointed. First up, we have the ignorant, represented by state Rep. Frank Hoffman, who voted for it and will take it, who proclaims, “There has not been a pay raise since 1980. There are very few people who make the same salary now that they made in 1980 in the jobs their [sic, on the reporting newspaper’s part] in.”
For one thing, if Hoffman were in the same job as he was 28 years ago, I’d say he wasn’t a very capable person – you’d think he would have gotten a promotion or two or since moved on to better jobs unless he really liked where he was. That aside, Hoffman seems blissfully ignorant that this was designed to be a part-time job (it was even reaffirmed as that in the Constitution a dozen years ago). Also, as I have noted elsewhere, already in terms of actual pay currently Louisiana ranks in the top three among Southern states in absolute terms, in per capita terms, and in proportion of pay to per capita individual income. After this raise, they all go the top of the lists without any other state being close.
Hoffman also blandly asserts, “I think the job responsibility and the work merits it.” If so the former, only because legislators have continuously inflated their jobs and with it their level of absconding with the people’s money beyond the true purposes of government. But the latter has little veracity to it; if the work they have done is so meritorious, why is Louisiana ranked near or at the bottom on so many quality of life indicators?
Next up, we have the befuddled state Sen. Mike Walsworth, who
While this seems magnanimous, it still does violence to the citizenry because it is increasing the intake of funds into government by creating an additional commitment of its funds to the tune of millions of dollars a year. More impressive would be if Walsworth would say he was swearing off earmarks entirely for his district and make up for them out of his salary (or at least reduce his requests by his extra salary). And if he’s going to give to charity, why not do it directly though government (as many of these earmarks already do) instead of through his extra salary after 40 percent or so has been deducted for taxes some of which, guess what, go right back into bloated Louisiana government.
Finally, we have the confused yet arrogant state Sen. Francis Thompson, who voted for it and will eagerly accept it, who remarked, “Why do we always say we're going to pay judges so they will not be tempted to be influenced by the wrong type of influence? The same thing holds true even more so in (other branches of) government.” Thompson seems blissfully unaware that state-level judgeships and most local judges are full-time occupations (by definition, not by their own efforts) and thereby need to be paid as such. And he must suffer from amnesia as well, for didn’t just a few months ago he and the vast majority of his colleagues vote for ethics bills that would reduce the amount of corruption in government? And even if you are paid at the level of a U.S. Congressman, as Rep. William Jefferson has allegedly demonstrated, that still doesn’t whet the appetite of those who are corrupt.
Thompson also had the audacity to bleat, referring to the first year’s additional cost (actually $3.5 million), “What's $3 million in a budget of $33 billion?” True, the raise will be about a hundredth of a percent of the total budget, but that’s not the point, the point being it’s our money, not yours to spend. If I meet this character at the end of the year if the raise goes into effect, on the basis of this year’s legislative activities I will ask him for $4.87 being that it will be one hundredth of a percent of his legislative salary for this year. And I will justify it by telling him, “what’s $4.87 when you made almost $49,000 this year in your part-time job as a legislator?”
At least not every legislator interviewed was a disingenuous dim bulb. State Sen. Neil Riser, who did not vote for it nor will accept it, said “I understood what the job paid when I took it.” That we didn’t elect 76 more between both houses with integrity like his is unfortunate.