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FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007
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Some legislators seeking pay raise
Representatives wanting increase run into opposition from governor

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Some legislators' desire for a raise has run up against opposition from Gov. Bob Riley.

During the new Legislature's organizational session this week, some legislators wanted to pursue a raise and met with Riley on Tuesday and Wednesday to see if he would support it.

Riley "told them he would veto it," spokesman Jeff Emerson told The Birmingham News.

"He didn't think it was a good idea," Emerson said.

Each of Alabama's 140 legislators makes about $30,710 in salary and expense allowances in a typical year without special sessions. The compensation has not been raised since 1990.

Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove, said some legislators want to raise the expense allowed by $1,500 a month, which would be $18,000 annually.

House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, said several options have been discussed.

But so far, no one has offered a proposal to the House or Senate. The Legislature plans to return Tuesday for the last day of its organizational session. If a pay raise resolution won approval that day, Riley could veto it and the Legislature would have no opportunity to override his veto.

Mitchem and others predicted supporters of a raise will wait until the Legislature's regular session begins in March.

An increase of $18,000 a year would amount to a 59 percent increase and would boost typical compensation to about $48,710, which would have about the same buying power that $30,710 had in 1990, according to information from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Karl Kurtz, an analyst in Denver with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the current pay for Alabama lawmakers was "pretty much in the middle of the pack" among states.

Kurtz told The News that he estimated how much a typical lawmaker in each state made in taxable compensation in 2003.

In the Southeast, amounts were $23,900 in Georgia, $30,500 in Tennessee, $30,600 in Kentucky, $31,600 in Alabama, $32,200 in Mississippi, $32,600 in Louisiana, $35,600 in Florida, and $36,800 in North Carolina.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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