OPINION: Louisiana's Proposed Legislative Salary Increase is an Insult to Taxpayers
Submitted by LPR reader Alton Philips
As Americans continue to suffer the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is outrageous that lawmakers in Louisiana are considering a bill that would increase their annual salary from $16,800 to $60,000. This proposal, which would raise salaries for legislators and other officials, is a shameful attempt to enrich the political elite at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.
The supporters of this bill argue that the last time lawmakers received a pay raise was in 1980. However, this is a weak justification for a massive increase in salaries, especially given the financial struggles that many Louisiana residents are currently facing. The fact that legislators have not had a raise in over four decades does not mean that they deserve a salary increase that is more than three times their current pay.
It is particularly galling that the governor supports a pay raise for legislators, albeit at a lower rate. This shows that he is out of touch with the needs of Louisiana’s citizens and is more concerned with catering to the political class than with serving the people. It is not the government’s role to provide cushy jobs for elected officials, but rather to work for the good of the people.
The proposed law would also increase salaries for the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives from $32,000 to $114,000. This is an outrageous increase that is completely unjustified. These individuals are already receiving generous compensation for their work, and it is simply unacceptable to give them an additional 82 thousand dollars a year.
Similarly, increasing the salary for the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker pro tem of the House of Representatives from $24,500 to $87,400 is nothing short of a slap in the face to taxpayers. Louisiana’s politicians should be ashamed of themselves for even considering such a bill. This money could be much better spent on education, healthcare, and infrastructure, which are all areas in which Louisiana lags behind other states.
Finally, Marino’s assertion that legislators need a higher salary because they have to commit three months minimum a year to be away from their job and family is simply preposterous. Louisiana’s legislators knew what they were getting into when they ran for office. They chose to take on this responsibility, and they should be willing to do so for the compensation they are already receiving.
The proposed legislation to increase salaries for legislators and other officials in Louisiana is a disgraceful attempt to enrich the political elite at the expense of the taxpayers. This bill should be rejected, and Louisiana’s politicians should focus on serving the people rather than lining their own pockets.