As legislature convenes, pay raise for members is on its agenda

The last time legislators raised their pay the reasoning was the boost to $16,800 would attract a wider variety of citizens to the job.

Better pay, more candidates, better legislators was the mantra of so-called Young Turks (hard to believe the surviving Turks are now age 80 or more) pushing the 1980 raise.

Whether was a result over the decades since is a matter of opinion.

But the mantra is the same this year as support builds to raise the pay to $60,000.

Why don’t supporters just say it’s been 40 years and $60K would be about the equivalent pay?

Legislators also receive $161 per diem while in session as well as mileage and expense allowances.

One doesn’t have to argue the overall quality of the Legislature to accept that four decades is long enough, whatever the ultimate increase might be.

One thing is certain – regardless the pay there will be no shortage of candidates come October, all telling us it’s about public service.

Jim Butler, a Bolton High School alumnus, was an acclaimed writer and editor at the Alexandria Town Talk for 36 years, the last 23 (1977-2003) as editor-in-chief. He led Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina for the Gulfport (Miss.) Sun-Herald in 2005. Butler returned home to Cenla a few years ago, and will share his talents and insight with Rapides Parish Journal readers.