After weeks of saying that he would not veto the legislative pay raise that doubles legislator salaries, Gov. Bobby Jindal reversed course this morning and announced at a press conference that he’s changed his mind and vetoed the pay raise.
The following is the text of the statement that's just been released by the governor's office:
BATON ROUGE – At a press conference announcing his line item vetoes in the supplemental spending bill today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he has vetoed the legislative pay raise bill to more than double legislators’ pay, SB 672.
“I have opposed this pay raise at every turn and from the very beginning. A doubling of legislative pay is clearly excessive and it takes effect prior to the next election, which I believe is bad policy,” Governor Jindal said. “This bill would also have set up a system to give legislators automatic pay raises in the future without additional legislative votes - which is a lack of accountability that we cannot accept.”
The Governor had previously said he would not veto the pay raise to allow the legislature to conduct its own internal affairs. “I clearly made a mistake by telling the legislature that I would allow them to handle their own affairs,” Jindal said. “As with all mistakes, you can either correct them or compound them - I am choosing to correct my mistake now.
“I have said that I was not going to stop legislators from more than doubling their own pay by vetoing this because I did not want to give them any excuse to slow down the momentum of our reform movement here in Louisiana. It turns out this is an unsustainable position. I have come to realize that the reforms I have been fighting for are simply incompatible with this legislative pay raise.
“I was trying to preserve our reform agenda and our momentum by tolerating this legislative pay raise that I knew was completely excessive. But the two cannot coexist.
“The bottom line is that allowing this excessive legislative pay raise to become law would so significantly undercut our reform agenda, and so significantly diminish the people’s confidence in their own government, that I cannot let it become law. So, I have vetoed the bill.”
The Governor continued to say that, “The sideshow over massive legislative pay raises has already taken up far too much time. It’s time to get back to doing the people’s business. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in our state…there are roads to build, jobs to create, business to open, and kids to educate.”
The Governor also called for legislators to direct any anger over the veto of the pay raise to him, and not the people of Louisiana by impeding future important reforms for the state. Jindal said, “I know that some of the legislators are going to be upset that I broke my word to them to stay out of their business. But I am asking them to take out their anger on me – not on the people of Louisiana.”
The Governor concluded his remarks by calling on the public to continue their close involvement in government and the political process. The Governor said, “to all the citizens of Louisiana who have become so vocal on this issue and so involved in the process - stay involved. There is a lot more to do. Don’t tune out or stop paying attention to the political process now. This government belongs to you; it is your business. I’m going to need your help.”