Alabama Governor Blocks Minimum Wage Increase After Raising Staffers’ Salaries 80%

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley delivers his State of the State address in the Historic Old House Chamber in the Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors)

Last month Alabama governor, Republican Robert Bentley, signed a bill banning Alabama cities from raising their minimum wages.

The signed bill immediately blocked a recent minimum wage increase in Birmingham from taking affect. The Birmingham City Council had voted to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but will now be unable to take affect.

Council President, Johnathan Austin calls it “unfortunate” and “a loss for those who deserve to earn a livable wage in the city of Birmingham and, for that matter, the state of Alabama.”

All eight Democratic senators voted against the minimum wage block bill, saying that it enriched on local authority and hurt workers. Senator Rudger Smitherman said that “When you lift a person on the bottom, everybody above them is lifted up.”

Current minimum wages in Alabama is not set, so employers adhere to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Now it has been revealed that the same Gov. that signed the bill blocking cities from enacting their own minimum wage, Gov. Bentley, gave four of his cabinet members an 80% raise increase. He raised their salaries $73,405 from the already $91,000 they were making.

According to Mac Gipson, one of the beneficiaries of these new raises and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator, his raise was given so he could attract the best taken from the private sector.

Yet, even the author of the bill, Senator Arthur Orr, that allowed the raises to take place calls the 80 percent increase “outrageous.”

Alabama state board of education candidate Jackie Zeigler is furious, saying:

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.

Alabama currently has the 48th high poverty rate in the country, yet their Governor refuses to give them anything above the ridiculously low federal minimum wage.


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