Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Governor Blocks $2.85 Minimum Wage Increase After Giving Staffers $73,405 Raises

When the city Birmingham, Alabama voted last month to give its lowest-paid workers a $2.85 raise, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley signed a bill banning Alabama cities from raising their minimum wages at all. Now, news has emerged that Bentley recently gave four of his cabinet members $73,405 raises — an 80 percent increase from the $91,000 salaries they were making previously.

One of the beneficiaries of the raises, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson, argues his previous $91,000 salary wasn’t sufficient to attract the best talent from the private sector. But an author of the bill that gave Bentley the authority to raise cabinet members’ salaries in the first place says the 80 percent boosts are “outrageous.”

“I’m troubled by the amount of raises that I’ve read about,” Sen. Arthur Orr (R) told

The raises reportedly went into effect late last year, though news of them just broke this week. While the $73,405 salary increases were the largest, more than a dozen members of Bentley’s cabinet and a number of his staff members reportedly received raises as well.

Bentley’s move has been criticized by some of his fellow Republicans, including state board of education candidate Jackie Zeigler, who said:

    The Bentley administration says the state is broke. They have denied pay increases for teachers, State employees and retirees. They closed five State parks and cut back others. They closed 31 drivers license offices. They gutted the State Auditor’s budget. They took 100 State troopers off the road. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, they were giving themselves huge pay raises. Cutting the normal people but adding to their own pay. This needs to stop.

Meanwhile, late last month, Bentley signed a bill blocking Alabama cities from raising their minimum wages above the federal floor of $7.25 an hour. Republican super majorities in both chambers of the legislature passed the measure after the city of Birmingham raised its minimum wage to $10.10.

Supporters of the legislation argue raising the minimum wage is bad for businesses — the evidence on that point is mixed — but opponents argue that with the 48th highest poverty rate in the country, it’s time for lawmakers to prioritize lifting Alabama workers out of poverty.

This isn’t the first time in recent months that Bentley’s budgetary choices have come under fire. In December, he diverted funding from the 2010 BP oil spill recovery effort to finance the renovation of a second Governor’s mansion on the Gulf Coast.

Original Article
Author: Aaron Rupar

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