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Lawmakers consider possible pay cut

By Bob Howell – WSFA 12 News Anchor – Montgomery, AL

Members of the Alabama Senate are talking about whether their pay should be cut – or perhaps prorated like state budgets when economic times are tough.  Sen. Paul Sanford, (R – Madison) favors the option of prorating salaries as needed.  He says repealing the 60%  pay hike approved by lawmakers in 2007 could force him and others to leave the legislature.  “If you cut this pay back to ’07 then I believe myself and many other legislators are going to be put in a situation where we’re going to have to resign,” said Sen. Sanford. “And if I’m going to have to resign then the state’s going to have to have a special session.”

Lawmakers base pay is fixed by law.  But they’ve been able to get around the rather modest amount by increasing their “expense allowance.”  Currently they earn about $52,000 in total compensation annually….up from about $30,000 prior to 2007.

Veteran lawmaker, Sen. Gerald Dial (R – Lineville)l favors repealing the raise…going back to the pre-2007 level.  He says the lawmakers were aware they had the power to raise or lower their expense pay. ”Every legislator knew when he or she was elected they could change that,” said Sen. Dial. “They could come down and increase that a hundred percent or reduce it a hundred percent.”

The senate leadership created a new senate subcommittee devoted exclusively to dealing with the legislative pay issue.

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