Salary Slash: Voters To Decide If Lawmakers Get Pay Cut

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-State lawmakers are bracing themselves for a potentially hefty pay cut courtesy of Alabama voters.

The presidential election is commanding most of the attention in next month’s general election, but also on the ballot is a proposed constitutional amendment that gives Alabama voters the option of reducing state lawmakers’ pay.

If approved, the amendment would repeal a sixty-one percent pay raise that legislators voted to give themselves back in 2007. The new salary levels would be on par with the median household income in Alabama, which currently sits at just over $41,000.

State Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison)¬† is sponsoring this year’s constitutional amendment. Both houses of the legislature passed¬†Ball’s pay cut bill earlier this year.

“Overwhelmingly, most people think it’s the right thing to do,” said Ball, who voted against the 2007 salary increases. “It might be the first time in the history of elected officials that there’s been an elected body that has voted to cut their own pay…I thought it would be a much better process to tie legislative pay to median household income. That way if the people are doing better, we will, and if the people don’t, we won’t.”

The average salary for a state lawmaker currently sits in the mid fifty-thousand dollar range. The proposed amendment also includes wording that prevents the state legislature from setting their own pay levels in the future, and eliminates travel and lodging stipends for lawmakers who live within fifty miles of the state capitol.

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