Alabama’s legislators are set to receive a decent bump in pay, thanks to a constitutional amendment voters passed in 2012.
That amendment, which followed legislation passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature, set lawmakers’ salaries equal to the median household income in the state, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau. At the time the legislation was passed, the median household income in Alabama was just over $41,000.
Come January 1, 2024, according to a letter sent by state Personnel Director Laury Morgan to the clerk of the Alabama House, lawmakers will see their pay increase from $53,913 to $59,674 – more than a 10-percent bump from 2023 and nearly $20,000 in raises since 2014.
The legislation, sponsored by then-state Sen. Bryan Taylor, who is now running for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, was billed as a way to stop lawmakers from voting themselves pay raises and instead tie their salaries to state income levels. It has instead provided lawmakers with steady pay raises that typically exceed cost-of-living raises of most state employees.
Since 2014, when the system was implemented, lawmakers’ pay has increased nearly 50 percent, dwarfing the standard 2-percent pay raises doled out to state workers and Alabama teachers. Over the last five years, teachers and state workers have received no more than a 4-percent raise, with raises typically keeping pace with inflation – making them a wash.
The average starting teacher pay in Alabama is just over $44,000 annually.