16 June 2008
sb672: state senator sharon weston to constituent: i voted to repeal stelly for you - now shut up i'am getting mines
Mass Email sent to all Legislators.
A reply to why the yes vote.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Broome, Sen. (District Office)" firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "james" removed
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 7:48 PM
Subject: RE: Legislative Pay Raise
Dear Mr. Young:
First, let me thank you for contacting me regarding the pay raise issue.
My motivation as an elected official has never been driven by the salary we have or don't have. I ran for public office out of a heart to serve people - not because I was hungry for power or money. As a committed Christian, I have worked hard to maintain a reputation as an honest, hard-working, effective public servant (obviously not a perfect servant). Community and economic development has been at the top of my agenda, along with advocating for consumer rights and responding to the needs of children and families. I have always believed that Louisianans should be able to earn a good living so that we can all pay our bills and maintain our dignity. That's why I voted to repeal the Stelly tax increases which will return $370 million dollars to the taxpayers of the State of Louisiana.
The position of a State Senator is far from part-time. Seventy to eighty percent of my time is dedicated to legislative responsibilities.
The legislature is responsible for setting its own salary. During my tenure in the legislature I have voted for salary and benefit increases for public safety-related employees, law enforcement, teachers, school support workers, state employees, retirees district attorneys, judges, clerks of courts, assessors, registrar of voters, statewide elected officials, speech pathologists, school social workers, etc.
Legislative pay was set at $16,800 per year on May 1, 1980. If legislators' salaries had been increased over that time to account for increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the current salary would be $43,834 and to that there is an allowance for per diem which brings the average salary to approximately $23,000.00 (depending upon the number of Special Sessions a Governor chooses to call).
A few years ago we established an Independent Commission to review the compensation package of legislators. These citizen members recommended a substantial increase after having spent more than a year reviewing and comparing compensation packages around the region. Even with the recommendation of the Commission, we still did not proceed to adjust the compensation due to the amount recommended.
I believe the present amended bill and proposed amount is not excessive, but a fair compromise. Teachers in East Baton Rouge parish make an average of $46,800 (and they certainly deserve more). Establishing an adequate salary beyond the 1980's is necessary, I believe, to make sure that men and women from all economic and social situations have an opportunity to serve. Having men and women from varied backgrounds and experiences is vital in shaping public policy that meets the needs of all citizens and builds a stronger state.
There is much more to the issue than is being communicated via media. In fact, if you would like to discuss the matter more at length, please give me a call at 225-359-9352 or 225-342-2040. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you. I respect your opinion.
With warmest regards,
Senator Sharon Weston Broome
§29.1. Part-time Public Officials
Section 29.1.(A) Except as provided in Paragraph (B), the following elected or appointed officials are hereby deemed to be part-time public servants who, based on such part-time service, shall not participate in, or receive credit for service in, any public retirement system, fund, or plan sponsored by the state of Louisiana or any instrumentality or political subdivision thereof:
(1) Any legislator or any member of a school board, levee board, police jury, or parish council.
(2) Any member of a city council, city-parish council, or town council or any alderman or any constable.
(3) Any member of a board or commission established by the state of Louisiana or any instrumentality or political subdivision thereof unless authorized by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
(4) Any person holding or serving in any other elected or appointed position or office defined to be part-time public service by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
(B) The provisions of Paragraph (A) shall not apply to any person who is serving on January 1, 1997, in any elected or appointed position set forth in Paragraph (A) and who is also a member on January 1, 1997 of a retirement system covering that position.
(C) The provisions of this Section shall not apply to participation in the Louisiana Public Employees Deferred Compensation Plan, or its successor.
(D) This Section shall become effective on January 1, 1997.
Added by Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 99, §1, approved Nov. 5, 1996, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.