Some refuse raise

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A growing list of Alabama House members, from both parties, have written letters refusing the automatic cost-of-living pay increase for legislators that went into effect last week according to the Associated Press.

Among those is Clanton legislator State Rep. Jimmy Martin.

“I signed a letter today refusing the raise,” Martin told The Advertiser Wednesday.

The Associated Press had reported Wednesday morning that nine members of the House had signed letters refusing the raise as of Tuesday evening.

According to the report legislators, both house members and senate members, have until April 15 to turn down the raise.

State Sen. Hank Erwin in an email last week to The Advertiser, said he too had refused the raise and had not taken an increase since the automatic cost-of-living increases had been part of a bill in 2007.

“From day one I have refused this raise and continue to do so,” Erwin said Wednesday. “As for the additional legislators coming on board now, I think they are realizing that it is getting closer to an election year.”

One House member, Democrat Rep. Lesley Vance of Phenix City, said his reason for refusing the raise was because he didn’t feel right to receive a raise with such high unemployment rates in the state.

The 2009 pay raise increases legislator’s earnings by $1,800 per year.