The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper's blog on all things related to Alabama politics and state government, featuring the writings of Sebastian Kitchen and Markeshia Ricks
Gov. Robert Bentley said he is leaving it up to lawmakers about how to handle the much-publicized and much-criticized pay raise, but he does have some advice.
"If they're wise, they should consider a cut like every other agency is taking a cut," the governor said.
Bentley said that lawmakers should be willing to sacrifice if they are going to ask teachers to sacrifice.
He also believes that lawmakers need to take out the automatic cost of living increase that they included when they passed a resolution in 2007 giving themselves a more than 60 percent increase in salary and expense allowances.
Bentley said he does not believe lawmakers need to go back to making closer to the $30,000 a year they did before the pay raise. He said that pay level makes it difficult with them staying in a hotel here, with gas approaching $4 a gallon, and eating while they are here.
The governor believes that lawmakers taking a cut like state agencies have would be a "good-faith effort" on their part.
Many Republicans ran criticizing the pay raise that the Democratic-led Legislature passed for themselves in 2007 as one of their first acts of business in the four-year term.
Now, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate appear to agree on a resolution that, beginning in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1., would cut the pay of lawmakers at the same level that the governor declares proration if the Legislature passes a budget in which spending is outpacing the money coming into the state.
Bentley reminded the Montgomery Advertiser in a conversation that he will not take a salary as governor until unemployment reaches 5.2 percent. He said that pledge to not take a salary as governor until Alabama reaches full employment is probably the reason he won the election.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen
South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.