Holley, Jones decline pay raises

Published 12:04 am Saturday, March 31, 2012

Covington County’s two legislators were among the state’s lawmakers who declined a cost of living raise of $1,608 per year starting in April.

Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Elba, and Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, both said they were among of the first legislators to turn down the 3 percent automatic increase.

The legislative accounting offices confirmed that Holley and Jones both declined their pay raises.

“The General Fund is in as bad of shape as it’s ever been and for me to take it, I think, would have been inappropriate,” Holley said.

Earlier this month, Gov. Robert Bentley declared nearly an 11 percent proration for the state’s General Fund.

State lawmakers voted in 2007 to give themselves a 62 percent pay increase, and they receive a cost of living increase each year, unless they decline it.

Teachers have not received a COLA since 2007 and state employees haven’t since 2008.

“The pay increase was done before I went into office,” Jones said. “I didn’t take it last year or this year. I didn’t run for the job for a pay increase. I did it to give back to the community. For me, it’s that simple.”

Jones said he declined his on Feb. 28.

House and Senate records show that 45 of Alabama’s 140 state lawmakers now make $53,438 in legislative pay in a year, barring no special session is held.

Other legislators who have refused previous pay raises make less now.

The automatic cost-of-living increase would push the annual pay of those 45 to $55,046.

Records also show that 73 lawmakers, who declined last year’s cost-of-living increase of $66 a month, now, make $52,646, those who accept the $1,608 would receive a 3.1 percent increase.

Other lawmakers voluntarily cut their pay levels to around $30,000.

The average Alabamian makes around $42,000 a year.