Are you taking an out-of-state summer vacation?|
Story Archives: Solons support pay raise veto
|Solons support pay raise veto|
State Sen. Neil Riser said he hoped Gov. Bobby Jindal's veto of legislative pay raises would allow Louisiana to continue moving forward in the coming months.
Jindal had said he would not veto the bill, which doubled legislator pay from $16,800 to more than $37,000. However, the governor changed his mind and vetoed the measure after more than a week of public protests and recall petitions.
Riser, R-Columbia, said Jindal's veto represented the governor recognizing public will.
"I think the governor finally listened to the voice of the people in the state," Riser said. "That voice said they wanted it vetoed, that they were against the pay raise."
Riser voted against Senate Bill 672, which would have granted lawmakers the raise.
State Rep. Noble Ellington, who voted for the increased pay, called the governor's move "necessary" and said he was not surprised by the veto because vetoing the pay raises was "the only thing he could possibly do."
"That was an issue that had gotten bigger than all of us," said Ellington, D-Winnsboro. "For the good of the state and the people, he did exactly what he needed to do."
Speaking from Baton Rouge on Monday, Jindal said pay raises for legislators were an "unsustainable position" and called SB 672 "incompatible" with reforms in other sectors of state government.
"I clearly made a mistake by telling the legislature that I would allow them to handle their own affairs," Jindal said. "As with all mistakes, you can either correct them or compound them — I am choosing to correct my mistake now."
Jindal said he initially agreed to refrain from vetoing the raises because he feared the Legislature might slow down reforms in the state.
Jindal contended he had been against the pay raises from the beginning.
"I have opposed this pay raise at every turn and from the very beginning," Jindal said. "A doubling of legislative pay is clearly excessive and it takes effect prior to the next election, which I believe is bad policy."
Ellington took issue with the claim Jindal had opposed the raises and said the governor had his facts "messed up."
"I ain't going to say he lied, but he sure got his facts confused," Ellington said.
Ellington blamed much of the controversy that ensued on Jindal's failure to oppose the move earlier and, Ellington said, had the governor provided leadership early on, the outcome of SB 672 would have been much different.
"I thought he was completely out of line by saying this is something he had fought from the beginning," Ellington said. "If he had told the president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House he was going to veto it from the beginning, it would never have come to a vote."