Jindal vetoes bill to hike lawmakers' pay
Facing an embarrassing recall petition, Indian-American Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill that would have more than doubled the salaries of legislators, correcting his earlier "mistake".
Jindal, a top contender for Republican vice presidential ticket, said he realised that he "clearly made a mistake" promising legislators he would not veto a pay hike that raised their basic salaries from USD 16,800 to USD 37,500.
"Today, I am correcting my mistake," he said shortly after vetoing bill yesterday, media reports from the state capital of Baton Rouge said.
The raise had infuriated voters, leading some to file recall petitions against Jindal, 37, the first Indian American Governor of a US state, and two of his top allies in the Legislature.
Jindal's U-turn came two weeks after the Legislature approved the raise.
"I know some legislators will be upset because I broke my word to them," Jindal said during a news conference. "I hope they take that anger out on me and not the people of Louisiana."
Letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls from angry voters flooded the Governor's office urging him to veto it.
A recall petition was to get under way this week but organiser Ryan Fournier said, now that Jindal vetoed the bill, he sees no reason to continue the push. A pro-veto rally scheduled for July 7 has been cancelled, the reports said.
The House speaker, Jim Tucker, also issued a statement to back Jindal's veto of the 'Bill 672.'
The bill would have made Louisiana legislators the highest paid in the South and the 14th-highest paid in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.