The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 25, 2013

Gov. Bentley keeping no salary pledge


Associated Press

The Daily Home in Talladega on the hope of Gov. Bentley getting paid:

As July’s unemployment numbers were released Friday, we were reminded of Gov. Robert Bentley’s 2010 campaign pledge that he wouldn’t accept a salary until Alabama reached full employment.

He has released his tax returns each year to show that he’s keeping his rare pledge, even as his administration continues to work to bring more jobs to the state.

His 2012 tax returns show that he and his wife had $234,000 in income last year, mostly from their retirement accounts and rental income from his office building in Tuscaloosa — but he’s passing up his $120,000 salary each year.

Full employment is considered to be 5.2 percent unemployment, given normal transitions in the job market. Friday’s announcement was that the seasonally-adjusted July unemployment rate for the state was 6.3 percent, down from June’s rate of 6.5 percent.

The unemployment rate has dropped slowly but steadily since 2010 when it reached a high of 10.4 percent. July’s rate was the lowest since October of 2008, when it was 5.9 percent.

Shelby County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, 4.2 percent, and Wilcox County has the highest rate at 16.3 percent. St. Clair County ranks 12th best with a rate of 5.8 percent unemployment, and Talladega County is 42nd with 7.9 percent unemployment.

Bentley sees the challenge of job creation as the state’s “greatest reconstruction effort” since the Civil War, and he’s made it the top priority for his administration. Incentives to businesses and industry have been part of efforts to bring jobs to the state.

Bentley pointed out there are15,000 jobs currently listed on the state’s JobLink database, and we’re sure he and Mrs. Bentley would both love to see those jobs filled.

At the current rate of increasing employment, whether Bentley cashes a state paycheck before the end of his term as governor looks like a tossup. We hope he makes it.