Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this year, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal promised not to veto legislation to raise the pay of state legislators. That was before lawmakers voted to more than double their own salaries, from $16,800 to $37,500.
Now Jindal is in an awkward spot. He doesn't like the bill and most people in Louisiana don't like the bill, but he did make that pledge.
So far, the governor is urging legislators to change their minds, but he is also sticking with his promise not to veto. This is quickly becoming a political firestorm in Louisiana. Jindal is feeling some of the heat, but he is also proving himself to be truer to his word than to his approval rating.
By the way, I don't think it's quite fair to argue that state legislators are acting out of self-interest either. John Maginnis made a good point:
There are many shades of green on the pay raise question, and legislative leaders must accept responsibility for not making a better case for it. Quick votes taken without debate or questions rightly exacerbated public anger.
Legislators are right on one thing. The higher salary will attract more qualified and motivated individuals to run than who could afford to before. The current Legislature has provided future candidates not only greater incentive for public service, but also a compelling issue by which to send better-paid incumbents home.
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