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  Campaign vow echoes loudly for Jindal
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ContributorBrandonius Maximus 
Last EditedBrandonius Maximus  Jun 18, 2008 11:08am
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MediaNewspaper - New Orleans Times-Picayune
News DateWednesday, June 18, 2008 05:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBATON ROUGE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal has painted himself into a political corner with repeated pledges not to interfere with the Legislature doubling its salary even though he promised voters last year he would stop lawmakers from giving themselves exactly the kind of raise they approved this week.

A Jindal "Action Plan" campaign booklet widely distributed before the October election said he would "prohibit legislators from giving themselves pay raises" during a current term. The candidate said a legislative pay raise should be granted only if it were to take effect in a subsequent four-year term of office, "so the public can decide who deserves that compensation."

Jindal has the power to veto Senate Bill 672, which would give lawmakers a salary increase July 1 from $16,800 to $37,500, plus automatic annual inflation increases and other compensation for expenses. But the governor said he won't kill the measure despite his opposition to it as "over the top" and "completely unreasonable."

"He's faced with a pretty bad choice: going back on his word with the Legislature, which isn't going to be pretty, or going back on his pledge to the people," said Bob Mann, a former communications director for Gov. Kathleen Blanco. "It just points out the need to keep track of your campaign promises."

The bill by Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, would let lawmakers maintain an annual $6,000 account for expenses that do not have to be explained, plus $143 for each day of legislative work and travel compensation.

Members of budget committees would get annual salaries of $54,750, and the speaker of the House and Senate president would earn $71,250.

Outrage, options

The bill passed narrowly in both the House and Senate. Supporters say lawmakers' responsibilities are like a full-time job and that the salary ought to be high enough to draw people into running for office who might not otherwise be able to maintain a regular job at the same time.

If the bill is
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