One analyst calls it a ``radioactive'' issue for state lawmakers across the country. He's talking about pay raises for legislators.
It's certainly no different in North Carolina, where House and Senate members haven't received a salary increase since 1995 and legislators sound afraid their votes on a pay raise bill could wind up as campaign fodder for their opponents.
Rank-and-file lawmakers make about 14-thousand dollars a year, not including expenses and meal and housing money. The speaker and Senate leader make about 38-thousand dollars.
Several legislators have quit the General Assembly this decade, saying they couldn't work what felt like a full-time job on a part-time salary.
A bill that cleared a House committee last week would raise salaries for most lawmakers to about 20-thousand-700 dollars in 2009, but its prospects are dim.
Speaker Joe Hackney says he's opposed to a pay raise but believes there's got to be a better way to evaluate salaries than up or down votes.