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|Hoffmann may have to take pay raise|
State Rep. Frank Hoffmann called his vote to approve a legislative pay raise "a mistake" and said he hoped Gov. Bobby Jindal would veto the legislation that authorized the raises for state lawmakers.
Hoffmann said he has contacted the governor's office to let it be known that he favors a veto of the legislative pay raise bill, Senate Bill 672 by Sen. Ann Duplessis of New Orleans.
"We've done this deed and it was wrong," said Hoffmann, R-West Monroe. "We can't correct it totally by doing this, but we can go a long way if we can get the governor to veto it."
Late Thursday, Hoffmann filed paperwork with the Speaker of the House of Representatives to decline the pay raise. Hoffmann announced he had filed the pay hike waiver in a widely circulated announcement.
By Friday morning, though, questions were being raised about the efficacy of Hoffmann's paperwork.
C. B. Forgotston, a good-government activist who operates a web site that often reports on wasteful government spending, pointed to wording in the legislative pay raise bill that indicated Hoffmann had missed a 14-day deadline to deny the pay raise. Forgotston, who moved to Hammond from New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, is a Tensas Parish native.
Hoffmann said Wednesday morning he had communicated with Speaker of the House Jim Tucker's office. Hoffmann said it was his understanding Tucker may accept Hoffmann's pay raise waiver anyway, citing uncertainty over the actual timing of the 14-day waiver.
"If they don't allow me to refuse it, then I'll give the pay raise to charitable causes," Hoffmann said.
That move would be in line with the actions of several other legislators, including state Sen. Mike Walsworth and Rep. Noble Ellington.
Both men have said they will donate some or all of their pay raises to charitable organizations in their districts.
According to Walsworth, his phone has been ringing "off the hook" since announcing he would use his raise for charitable purposes.
"I've already had three or four non-profits who asked for their names to be put into the hopper," said Walsworth, R-West Monroe. "There's just a lot of need out there."