Never let it be said that I don't criticize legislative measures offered by Democrats when I think that they are as bad as anything an R would come up with...
Vaulting into contention for this year's Legislative Loon Award is State Sen. Ken Cheuvront (D-LD15).
He has proposed an amendment to the Arizona constitution, SCR1038, that if approved by the voters, would reduce legislative salaries by 20% for the years 2011 and 2012.
The annual salary for Arizona legislators is $24,000; Cheuvront wants to reduce it to $19,200.
I actually sympathize with the obvious sentiment - state services and state workers have been slashed by the Rs in the lege while the lege has taken almost no cuts to its budget.
However, this is the wrong approach. The lege is already underpaid, a fact that has impacted the quality of candidates interested in running for it. Cutting the pay to even lower levels won't do anything to improve that. It will just allow some people to exercise some vindictiveness.
And to that particular point, one of those people could be Cheuvront himself.
He isn't running for reelection to the Senate this year, instead choosing to mount a primary challenge to a sitting Democratic Justice of the Peace.
Because he can't afford to remain in the Senate. It just doesn't pay enough.
And this is his going-away gift to his soon-to-be-former colleagues? Niiiiiice...
OK, to be honest, a single measure won't elevate Cheuvront to the top of the Loon heap; it won't even put him in the top 5. It is a good start, however, if he plans on mounting a serious run.
The Senator should note that the Loon Award doesn't come with a financial award; it offers something far more valuable than mere cash to the winner - the prestige of being in a club so exclusive that only Russell Pearce, Jack Harper, and the entire 2009 Republican caucus in the lege are members.
OK, so maybe that club isn't all that exclusive.