Jeff Sadow, the Legislative Pay Raise, and My Comments

June 25, 2008

One of the greatest political analysts/commentators in this state is Professor Jeff Sadow, Louisiana State University – Shreveport. I try to read his blog as often as possible and when he mentions Northeast Louisiana (NELA) I sometimes get involved in the debate. This is one of those times.

The Professor’s latest comments can be found here and below are the comments I made to him. Perhaps the good professor will continue the discussion and maybe enlighten me to the errors of my ways.

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“Good morning, Professor.

Personally, I am in favor of a pay raise for the Legislature. I try to operate under the premise that “you get what you pay for”.

Having said that, it was a monumental mistake the way this pay raise was accomplished, and few seem to realize that it was the Democrat leadership in the Legislature that pushed it through.

Senator Walsworth lobbied hard AGAINST this pay raise and tried to get his rookie colleagues to understand that any pay raise would not go over well with the voters, but one that takes place during the same session would be a political disaster.

Many obviously failed to heed Senator Walsworth’s warnings and their future opponents will certainly attempt to put their proverbial heads on the chopping block.

On the issue of “part-time” employees, I would contend that this label for legislators is ridiculous. Give me one example of a part-time job where you work four months, likely 10-12 hour days and then take the rest of the year off. And in the case of a legislator, they come back to their districts and continue to handle local affairs. Can you imagine if they took the rest of the year off from their legislative work?

In the case of my friend Senator Walsworth, I know he works his butt off when he is at home for his district.

IMHO, I think it would be far better to classify them as “full-time”, pay them full-time, but have their investments put in a blind trust, like is done with the President, and not allow any other income while they serve in the Legislature.

Wouldn’t this serve to improve ethics and make financial disclosure more transparent and much easier to accomplish?

As for Senator Walsworth’s decision to give his pay raise to LOCAL charities, I think it is OUTSTANDING and I intend to make efforts to get NELA’s entire delegation to do the same. (Well, at least the conservatives, 😉 )

I am of the opinion that by refusing to take the money, it will go back to Baton Rouge and the LAST place it would be spent would be in NELA as history proves.

Please, keep up the good work and I look forward to your guidance.”


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