Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Arkansas GOP Suggests Doubling Lawmakers' Salaries

I know that we can't believe everything that is in the paper; but we conservatives and T-Partiers need to make a strong statement about this quote by one of our Arkansas Representatives taken from article below in the Democrat Gazette: "Earlier in the week, Burris told an Arkansas Times reporter that he may be interested in banning lobbyists from buying anything for lawmakers, ending per diem and doubling lawmakers’ salaries to compensate for not receiving lobbyist gifts." [Compensation for not receiving lobbyist gifts reminds me of what Obama and Pelosi might suggest, not an Arkansas Republican.]

In the first line of the article this legislator Rep John Burris of Harrison is called, "The top Republican in the Arkansas House of Representatives."

Wouldn't the Democrats like to hang doubling the lawmakers' salaries around the neck of the Republicans? That would be one of the surest ways to reduce the gains we finally made in our Arkansas legislature this year and turn the T-Partiers against Republicans.

Another statement attributed to Burris also infuriated me: “'I don’t know why everybody’s so excited. We’re still a minority party, we can’t pass anything on our own,' Burris said.' The fact is the House, now with 40 Republican members, can stop almost any appropriation bill or tax because a three-fourths favorable vote is required to pass them. That's a great deal to be excited about. I know many legislators and citizens who have longed for that day.

Besides, there are many other reasons to be excited. For one, Republican gains (that resulted in 15 Republican Senators and 40 Republican Representatives) send a powerful message to the liberals and Democrats. Some Democratic legislators have admitted they only run as Democrats so they can get elected. Several of the Democrats even have more conservative voting records than our Republicans. With the help of those conservative Democrats and the backing of the new Tea Party Movement, there is a great deal the Republicans can do if they will have the courage to do it.

However, with an attitude like the one attributed to Burris in this article, there is very little they can do. And I am sure that is what the liberals want the Republicans to believe.

We citizens haven't worked all these years to gain what we did in this last election to hear statements like those attributed to Burris. If the paper misquoted Burris, I welcome his response and will send it out to all the people to whom I am sending this email.

I am very concerned that the Democrat Gazette wrote this article to alarm Independents who voted for the Republicans and to get them to regret their votes. It is rare for any of the major media to write anything about a conservative Republican that is not intended for harm.

I don't know Burris and have not followed his voting record but will in the future. I did look up his voting record on a liberal blog, and 7 of the 28 Republicans had a more liberal score than Burris, but 25 legislators (20 Republicans and 5 Democrats) had a more conservative score than Burris. Sixty-two Democrats had the top liberal scores. See page 41 at this link for these scores. The lower scores on this liberal site will indicate the most conservative voting records. http://citizensfirst.org/resources/2009%20Vote%20Guide.pdf This may not be an exact picture of how conservative these legislators vote but will come pretty close in most cases.

The article referred to above can be found at this link: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2010/nov/11/ethics-mind-houses-burris-20101111/ Below are excerpts from the article. Article is entitled "Ethics on the mind of House's Burris" by Sarah D. Wire, November 11, 2010.

LITTLE ROCK — The top Republican in the Arkansas House of Representatives said Wednesday that he is interested in changing the state’s ethics laws but does not have a specific plan.

"Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison, said changes brought by the increased frequency of the state’s major legislative sessions should be reflected in ethics laws....

"Earlier in the week, Burris told an Arkansas Times reporter that he may be interested in banning lobbyists from buying anything for lawmakers, ending per diem and doubling lawmakers’ salaries to compensate for not receiving lobbyist gifts.

"State legislators receive per diem and other reimbursements in addition to their state salary of $15,615 a year. The Senate president pro tempore and the House speaker get $17,486 a year.

"Burris said he spoke with some Republicans about new ethics laws but does not have a proposal or a firm idea of what should be done.....

"He said the Republican lawmakers he spoke to agreed generally that “something has to be done.”

"The GOP made large gains in the Legislature - picking up 17 seats in the House and seven in the Senate - but Republicans will need Democrats’ support if they want to cause meaningful change in the new legislative session........

“I don’t know why everybody’s so excited. We’re still a minority party, we can’t pass anything on our own,” Burris said."
Arkansas, Pages 11 on 11/11/2010

I have received a much greater number of comments on this article that I sent out by email than normal. My favorite comment so far is this one. "Doubling the lawmakers' salaries - after a while they would ask for more to keep from taking lobbyists pay-off. "

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still surprised at what shenanigans the GOP pulls on a regular basis? Still think there's something special about the Republican brand of fraud and duplicity?

7:55 PM, November 17, 2010  
Anonymous RockThisTown said...

I don't know Rep. Burris, but, to me, it's a little disingenuous to say "OK, we'll stop taking lobbyists' meals & gifts, but in exchange, we'll double our salaries." Hey, Rep. Burris: no one's holding a gun to your head to accept lobbyists' gifts/meals now. Why not just do away with ALL lobbyist gifts/meals, and leave the salary issue to the Dems, as I suspect they will propose raising salaries if you don't. So, let them take that political heat. Plus, legislators get a per diem for meals & lodging during the session.
Several other states have already adopted the "Cup of Coffee" rule, barring accepting ANYTHING of value from lobbyists.

8:32 PM, November 17, 2010  

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