Who would create stalemate?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

From The Anniston Star

On the surface, the proposed rollback of the pay hike state legislators gave themselves four years ago would seem a smart, it not elementary, move.

In reality, it would be a critical vote to show Alabamians that legislators were serious about the problems the state faces.

Percentage-wise, the raises were undeniably big — 61 percent bigger, in fact. Legislators now make more than $52,000 a year after their pay raise and annual increases since the vote.

That’s a good salary in this state. That most Alabama legislators — though hardly all — earn their salaries with good-faith efforts is a point that shouldn’t be discounted.

However, at a time when Alabamians are hurting financially, to continue to accept that exorbitant raise is the height of insensitivity.

Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, introduced a resolution on the first day of the session Tuesday to repeal the pay raise. Gov. Robert Bentley is also on record as a supporter of at least a partial or temporary repeal.

But even though Dial’s party has been critical of the raises and now has the majority in both houses, the matter has not come up for a vote.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, has said the issue would put the Senate into a stalemate. The people need a better explanation than that.

We can’t help but wonder who would keep the Senate from doing its business over this issue.

Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford said the majority Republicans told Democrats that repealing the pay raises was off the table. Why? Greed? Some other reason?

It would be a symbolic, if not important, gesture to repeal the pay raise. However, the symbolism would be full of meaning for many Alabamians.

It also would be a matter full of meaning if the pay-raise repeal was opposed and the Senate was deadlocked.

This is one of those times when an issue needs to be debated and voted on so Alabamians can see which legislators put themselves above duties of the office to which they have been elected.

If Marsh is correct, voters need to know who would put the Senate in a stalemate over this issue.