Jindal urged to veto legislative pay raise -- by two legislators who voted for it

No foolin’. Such is the outrage over the raise that four legislators are already facing recall petitions and requests for 30 more petition packets are being processed by the Secretary of State. It’s not purely symbolic, either: The Louisiana blogosphere, at least, means business.

Whether you think it’s overblown or not, as a display of public might and civic accountability it’s darned impressive.

Reps. Tim Burns, R-Mandeville; Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe; and John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, filed affidavits declining the raise.

LaBruzzo, who was a vocal advocate of the pay raise, is now calling on Jindal to veto the measure. His affidavit contained a qualification: He will not accept the higher salary until a $300 million tax cut Jindal signed into law goes into effect. The tax cut technically goes into effect Jan. 1, but new tax tables may not be ready until July 2009…

The three new statements bring to 23 the number of lawmakers who have declined the pay raise. A lawmaker can later rescind the affidavit and start receiving the pay, but not retroactively, House Clerk Alfred “Butch” Speer said.

LaBruzzo wrote a letter to Jindal saying, “It has become obvious to me that we — the Legislature — grossly misjudged the issue of legislative pay during the past session. As a result, I am recommending that you veto SB 672 so that we can come together with our constituents to determine a more reasonable compensation plan for legislators.”…

Hoffmann said he has gotten criticism from his conservative northeast Louisiana base for voting for the raise. “The timing was bad, the amount was too much,” Hoffmann said, confirming he submitted a late affidavit. “I spoke to Governor Jindal and recommended that he veto it. … I think there is movement to veto it” among lawmakers.

I’m sitting here wondering if even the great amnesty backlash of 2007 succeeded in intimidating anyone who publicly supported the bill before the vote into opposing it. Brownback switched his vote at literally the very last minute, but that was after he knew for sure the bill had been defeated. Cornyn also reversed himself, but that was weeks before the anger really started to mount, as I recall, so it was probably done on principle. Oh, and do recall that as thanks for his reversal, he got an F-bomb dropped on him by our nominee.

Incidentally, according to Louisiana blogger LegeWatch, the ploy to decline the raises is just that — a ploy. Statutorily, it’s too late. As for Jindal, he’s still promising that he won’t veto the pay raise, but if he’s worried that vetoing it will jeopardize his agenda by making an enemy of the legislature, that shouldn’t be much of a worry anymore if the legislature itself is begging him to get them off the hook, no? Seems like a moment that calls for bold, populist leadership, not … this. Oof.

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