Baker: No to raise

Published 9:48 am Monday, March 12, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
If Gov. Bob Riley follows through on a promise to veto a 62 percent pay raise for legislators, lawmakers would likely have the votes to override - but unlike the original vote, those yays or nays would likely be recorded, state Rep. Alan Baker said Friday.
Baker, who voted against the increase in expense allowance for lawmakers, said he chose to have his vote recorded along with a handful of other Republican representatives after Thursday's voice vote in the House and Senate.
A voice vote does not require a record of how individual House and Senate members voted.
Baker said he will not support the pay raise if it comes up again after a possible Riley veto.
The 62 percent raise does not change lawmakers' $10-a-day salary but does increase their expenses from $2,280 per month to $3,850 per month.
Supporters of the move said lawmakers have not had any increase in compensation since 1990, and that the costs of hotel stays, gas and meals have increased.
Baker said the possibility of a voice vote on the pay raise was already being talked about in the House. &#8220It was not a surprise,” he said.
Democratic State Sen. Pat Lindsey, who also represents the Brewton area, could not be reached for comment.
The Legislature wrapped up its first week of the regular session with the pay raise Thursday. Other issues on tap this session include ethics rules and a proposal to reduce annual appraisals, Baker said.
Last year, based on an interpretation of state law, Riley's administration began annual property appraisals; they had been done every four years.
Baker said several lawmakers have proposed returning to appraisals every four years. &#8220It just depends on what makes it to the floor,” he said.
Lawmakers will be back in session Tuesday.

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