Dear Tri-parish state lawmakers

Congratulations. You survived a six-month marathon in Baton Rouge.

Certainly, you deserve a break. And, based on your vote and those of your peers, a huge bump in pay.

Yes, before you barely get your bags unpacked, here’s one more missive about that pesky pay raise.

It would appear the 2008 Regular Session has delivered the one thing worse than watching laws or sausage made: Watching lawmakers cut themselves a bigger slice of the taxpayers’ pie.

Sure, the recovery has kept us from a number of the woes the rest of the nation is facing: Housing sales are good, mortgages are not nearly the issue that insuring property is and our unemployment rate is all but nil.

But we are mindful that the recovery won’t last forever. There’s extra money to be had, but rising gas prices and taxes plus the high cost of raising and feeding a family has us all watching our budgets.

That’s why it came as a bit of a shock that in the final days of the Regular Session, after only four minutes of discussion, a House committee trotted out a bill to triple lawmakers’ salaries. In the coming days, the amount would be shaved to double, a move House and Senate members call reasonable.

Granted, it’s been years since Louisiana’s had the money to give lawmakers a raise. Granted too, greater demands have been placed on Legislators in the wake of the 2005 hurricane season. A pay hike was due … BUT DOUBLE YOUR SALARY? Really? I’ve been at my job full-time all year and no one’s talking about doubling my salary. What is your secret?

Louisiana has made tremendous strides in re-inventing itself globally … in announcing to the world that it is a new day to work, live and play. And in one fell swoop, I worry that this Legislature has pulled the rug from under us with this one bill.

There’s so much for us to talk about, but I’ve got to let you go for now. I’ve got another note to jot to Gov. Jindal. It seems, based on campaign promises he made to me and other voters, his veto work remains undone.


A Concerned Tri-parish Voter