“My parents taught me the importance of giving back. I’m not looking for perks. Public service is an honor, not a way to make a living. I will work full-time for all Arkansans and I won’t take a salary,” announced Burkhalter …“We have other priorities these funds can be used for, like creating jobs and improving our schools. “
As for the Republican candidate, congressman Tim Griffin:
Tim Griffin has spent nearly 20 years in Washington. While Arkansans were struggling, Griffin voted to allow congressional pay raises and first-class airplane flights. He even used tax dollars for a private barbershop and gym.
The amount appropriated for the Lt. Governor’s salary for the current fiscal year is $42,315. Not sure how many jobs will be created or schools improved by $42K returned to state coffers, though I suppose it can’t hurt.
This puts a fine point on the question hanging over the LG’s race in general: If a constitutional officer’s position can stay vacant for most of 2014 with no negative consequences to the state, why does it exist at all? Maybe the salary should be eliminated altogether, not just voluntarily returned.
Tim Griffin’s campaign hasn’t responded to a request for comment about whether he’d also work the Lieutenant Governorship gratis. In regards to the “congressional pay raises” claim, the congressman did issue a statement of his own earlier today that succeeded in using the word “liberal” three times in one sentence:
“Today John Burkhalter launched an ad attacking me for voting against the liberal House Democrat budget and confirming what we already knew: he is a liberal who would have voted for the liberal House Democrat budget written by Pelosi which contained over a trillion dollars in tax increases and more spending. He continues to attack my common sense record in order to hide his support for the Obama agenda. Arkansas needs an honest lieutenant governor who wants to reform government so we can grow good-paying jobs and compete.”
UPDATE: Here’s a response from Griffin’s campaign about the salary question:
“Yesterday John Burkhalter announced his support for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s liberal House budget and over a trillion in tax increases: Salary or no salary, we don’t need a liberal in the lieutenant governor’s office,” Griffin said.