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|Solons differ on legislative pay raises|
State legislators have unanimously adopted a massive tax cut while they appear poised to give themselves a pay raise.
Late Tuesday, the Senate approved a proposal that would raise the pay of lawmakers to anywhere from $60,000 to $70,000 per year.
The Senate voted 20 to 16 to send the pay-raise proposal by Sen. Ann Duplessis of New Orleans to the House of Representatives for its consideration.
State Sens. Bob Kostelka and Francis Thompson voted in favor of the pay-raise bill while Sens. Neil Riser and Mike Walsworth voted against giving legislators a pay hike.
The pay-raise bill also ties state lawmaker salaries to salary levels of members of the Congress.
In its current form, the bill says Louisiana legislators will receive a base pay equal to 30 percent of the salary paid to members of the Congress.
That means members of the state Legislature will receive annual pay raises for cost of living increases, as do members of Congress.
If the state House approves the pay hike, legislators will see the pay bump beginning July 1.
Also on Tuesday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a rollback in state income tax rates to levels levied by the state prior to passage of the so-called "Stelly Plan."
That move came after the Senate unanimously approved the $300-million tax cut last week.
Without further changes to the bill in the House, Louisiana's middle class will pay some 2-percent less in state income taxes next year.
State officials have estimated that the tax cuts could amount to as much as $500 per year for some Louisiana families.
The tax cut proposal will now head to the desk of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has indicated he will sign the bill into law.
That means taxpayers will see a reduction in their state income tax rates beginning in 2009.
The Regular Session must end no later than June 22.