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20.6.08

Excuses for big pay raise reveal moronic legislators

By reviewing comments made by northeast Louisiana legislators concerning the pay raise they voted themselves recently, we can draw only one conclusion from this sample: that the majority of these elected officials are, for varying reasons, idiots.

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 voted against it yet says he’ll accept it but donate the raise to charitable causes and projects for his district. (Adding projects at least improves on the donation-only pledges of the raise ringleader House Speaker Jim Tucker, and of state Rep. Tim Burns, and of state Rep. Erich Ponti, and of state Rep. A.B. Franklin, and perhaps others.)

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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Tucker and his wife were not spending so much money trying to keep her ex from getting more time with his children, then they wouldn't need a pay raise.

As it is, the case is up with the Louisiana Supreme Court right now.

Divalocity said...

I need the names of those who voted. I am so mad about this that I woke at 6:00 am this morning and started writing about this!I'm still searching for the complete list of names because these individuals do not need to be re-elected ever again!!!

Jeff Sadow said...

Easy, look at these links:

http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=497944

http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=497944

In the future, I will have a posting listing who voted against it and refused to take the raise.

Joyce said...

Bringing Jim Tucker or any other legislators' family into this situation is wrong. I understand that the raise was excessive, but there is a line!

Deryl Bryant "4unionparish" said...

Hey, Jeff,

Are you now going the way of the uncredible sensationalist?

I find it very disturbing that someone I HAD such respect for is unable to get critical facts correct, especially after I have given them some obviously undeserved praise.

With such a heated issue as the Legislative payraise, I find it irresponsible that you are misreporting the facts and you owe Senator Mike Walsworth a VERY public apology.

Senator Walsworth voted AGAINST the payraise BOTH TIMES.

Not only did you misreport this, you even chose to insult him. That would deserve TWO apologies.

I also have to wonder why you and the rest of the frenzy-feeding, self-proclaimed conservatives completely overlook mentioning those truly responsible for initiating this legislation.

Perhaps like Gannett News Service/ Baton Rouge Advocate, which also misreported Senator Mike Walsworth's participation in this legislation, you too, have some devious bias toward those with conservative leanings and I should reevaluate any praise I may have given you in the past.

I will await YOUR mea copa and, perhaps, you may find it easier to understand how others like Frank Hoffman can make mistakes, and then recognize those like Ann Duplesis who are more deserving of your misinformed wrath.

Please, don't disappoint further.

Jeff Sadow said...

>Senator Walsworth voted AGAINST the payraise BOTH TIMES.
>you even chose to insult him

The vote report has been corrected. The article implied he voted for it but I should have checked and not assumed.

But I am spot on to suggest that Walsworth's (and several others') tactic of creating a personal slush fund with taxpayers' dollars lacks integrity on this issue. If he really was against the raise, he'd turn it down like Riser did. (Or, to borrow from my religious faith, the venial sin of accepting but passing it out like a political boss of the days of yore may not be the mortal sin of accepting it in full, but it's still a sin.)

You'll get no apologies from me for pointing out that bad behavior and if you cannot understand the difference, you have surrendered principle on the altar of Walsworth.

>mea copa
The rest of the world spells it mea culpa.

Deryl Bryant "4unionparish" said...

"The vote report has been corrected. The article implied he voted for it but I should have checked and not assumed."

Yes making assumptions can get you in trouble and, since you failed to contact Senator Walsworth, either to apologize for misreporting the facts or for insulting him, and you further failed to verify his true motivations for accepting the pay raise, we can easily classify your "spot on" opinion as nothing more than ANOTHER incorrect ASSumption.

You can easily be held responsible for the HUNDREDS of phone calls to Mike's office complaining about him voting for the pay raise.

I know Mike fairly well. He is my friend. As such, I feel it is my duty to him, as it would be to any of my friends, to defend him against such obvious misrepresentations. I find it quite shallow of you to imply that I have abandoned my moral principals in doing so, and further insulting to imply that I "worship" anyone. Perhaps falling back on your religious training will allow you to recall the sin of false witness.

The FACT is that you don't know what is in Mike's heart, you have not bothered to interview him to find out, and just because you allow your cynicism to run rampant does not a fact make, but only another assumption needing further apology.

Further, the pay raise, had it not been vetoed, would not have been a sin nor a crime; distasteful to some, assuredly, regrettable for others, definitely, but never a sin. Therefore, your analogy is way off the mark, thus there would never have been any bad behavior in accepting the raise and generously passing it along to charities serving his district. Your description is merely your contemptuous opinion, nothing more, and given your other mistakes and your refusal to apologize for making those mistakes, not a very weighted opinion.

For me, please, allow me to apologize for my simple typo. I am but a simple man, but with an honest opinion.

At least we can salvage the hopes that you will at least be qualified to be a middle school spelling teacher.

Deryl Bryant "4unionparish" said...

Jeff, why don't we analyze this slack opinion of yours to another level?

First, I have to wonder about your preoccupation with NELA when you have just as much incompetence/arrogance to work with in the Shreveport area, not to mention New Orleans where the author of this bad legislation actually lives.

Mr. Adley voted for the pay raise, but I don't recall seeing his name anywhere. His arrogance/stupidity bears little difference than that of Mr. Hoffman, but at least Frank had the guts to apologize, but worse, Mr. Adley is a seasoned politcian where Frank is an admitted "rookie". Mr. Adley claims he thought the Governor was going to veto the bill. If that is true then he was actually working against the Governor, opposite what he claims in the same interview (also known as a LIE). Of course, he could be asleep at the wheel and should have known the Governor had other pending legislation that could have been derailed by opposing this DEMOCRAT legislation.

You also failed to mention Hollis Downs, the biggest RINO in NELA who also voted FOR the pay raise. Given the poor research you performed in your undeserved hatchet job of Senator Walsworth, I could easily blame this on incompetence, but I have to wonder. How could you possibly make such a huge oversight?

You did correctly grill Francis Thompson, even though he was predictable, but equally predictable was Rosalind Jones, "fruit of the same tree" who got a complete pass.

This has got to be the worst article you could have produced and I am certainly sorry I ever gave you the slightest praise.

You have now become the epitome of those that "eat their own", of course that requires the assumption of which team you actually belong and we all know how dangerous making assumptions can be, don't we?

Your continued failure to right your wrongs says it all.