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Posted: 8/2/2005 9:49:44 AM EDT
www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/reiland/s_358538.html


Overblown and overpaid

By Ralph R. Reiland

Monday, August 1, 2005

As it turns out, the price tag on the middle-of-the-night pay grab that Pennsylvania's legislators voted to give themselves has produced the most expensive state Legislature in the nation, according to an analysis by the Pennsylvania Economy League.

With the new pay hike, ranging from 16 percent to 34 percent, on top of the 5.2 percent cost-of-living pay hike the legislators received in January, Pennsylvania's taxpayers will pay $20.5 million per year to cover the salaries and benefits of the state's 253 legislators. That's nearly double the $11.9 million annual outlay that taxpayers in California, the nation's most populous state, pay for the compensation of their 120 state legislators.

Note that California, with triple the population of Pennsylvania, i.e., a populace of 35.9 million in California versus 12.4 million in Pennsylvania, manages to operate with less than half as many state legislators as Pennsylvania.

Texas, the nation's second-most populous state, carries out the business of state government with 181 state lawmakers who are paid $7,200 per year - a total annual cost of $1.3 million to the taxpayers. In New York, the nation's third-most populous state, the annual cost to taxpayers of compensation to state legislators is $16.9 million -- $3.6 million less than the new cost of salaries and benefits for Pennsylvania's 253 legislators.

Closer to home, Ohio has 132 state lawmakers who are paid $53,707. New Jersey has 120 legislators who are paid $49,000. In Maryland, where the Legislature meets for only three months a year, the state's 188 lawmakers are paid $31,000.

In Pennsylvania, the base compensation for state legislators after this latest pay grab ranges from $81,050 to $145,553, not counting the free cars, gas, generous defined-benefit pensions, fully paid prescription coverage, free dental and vision insurance, free parking, "walking around money," fully paid life insurance and long-term care insurance, expense accounts, and the no-receipt $128 daily reimbursement for every day the Legislature is in session, whether the legislator spends the money or not.

And that's not the end of the self-aggrandizement. By way of a provision that's built into this year's pay raise, on top of automatic and inflated cost-of-living increases, lawmakers' paychecks in Pennsylvania will go up each time the House and Senate members in Washington give themselves a raise.

Additionally, in order to sidestep the section of Pennsylvania's Constitution that forbids lawmakers from voting themselves raises that take effect during their current terms, the politicians will pocket the new money by use of no-receipt "unvouchered expenses."

None of the above costs to taxpayers includes the price of the legislators' staffs. Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania is at the top of the pile when it comes to the number of friends, relatives and other assorted helpers the state politicians have added to their payrolls. With a legislative support staff that's 2,947 strong, that breaks down to 11.6 staffers per Harrisburg lawmaker. In Maryland and North Carolina, respectively, the state governments manage to keep things on track with 4.5 and 1.7 staffers per legislator. Only New York operates with a larger number of staff members per legislator than Pennsylvania.

In the 2005-2006 state budget, the cost to Pennsylvania's taxpayers of the legislative branch, i.e., the salary and benefit package for the Legislature's politicians and staff and other operational support, is $462 million. Based on the 77 days per year that the Legislature averages in session, that comes out to $6 million per day. That's not the cost of roads, welfare and education per day -- that's just the price tag for those who are passing out the money.

By and large, Pennsylvania's overblown and overpaid Legislature might be less objectionable (and more affordable) if the state's taxpayers were rolling in money. Quite the contrary, the nation's most expensive Legislature is being supported by a state population that ranks 24th among the 50 states in per capita income, 34th in the median value of owner-occupied homes, and 28th in median household income.

Chief Justice Ralph Cappy, of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has praised the lawmakers for their "courage" in voting themselves a raise (and voting Cappy a 14.4 percent salary boost, to $176,800). State Sen. Patricia Vance has a more down-to-earth take on how the pay raise is viewed by the public. "I have never," she says, "been called so many names in my life."

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:04:40 AM EDT
That's bullshit.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:05:56 AM EDT
Sometimes I start thinking it might be nice to move back to PA, then I see crap like this.

They'll keep pulling this BS as long as the voters let them.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:08:21 AM EDT
You'd have to burn the capitol to remove these leeches from the tax base. Sounds like Texas has it right. Don't let them make careers out of it.

What a bunch of scum.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:13:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 10:15:27 AM EDT by SmilingBandit]

$81,050 to $145,553




Around here it's like 11k. $12,000 per year.

Maybe PA get's what they pay for?
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:13:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Sometimes I start thinking it might be nice to move back to PA, then I see crap like this.

They'll keep pulling this BS as long as the voters let them.



Dumbass union mentality workers & welfare recipients pulling that big D lever and sending slimebags like Rendell to the capitol.

First thing the AH did was raise taxes, then they give themselves a fat raise (which will be a pittance compared to the kickbacks from the casinos)

Grade A scum.

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:18:40 AM EDT
Any raises should have to be passed by a majority in a referendum.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:19:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jerret:
That's bullshit.




Tell me about.


I have to live here.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:22:22 AM EDT
Must be nice to be able to vote in your pay raises...who else in this country gets that luxury, other than elected officials?

One of the reasons I have no problem with most elected officials getting the czar treatment....
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:25:21 AM EDT
The democrat law-makers in PA who voted against the pay raise got the shitty end of the stick.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:25:29 AM EDT
And Texas state legislators only get paid every other year... because our constitution only allows them to meet every other year.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:37:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Merrell:

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Sometimes I start thinking it might be nice to move back to PA, then I see crap like this.

They'll keep pulling this BS as long as the voters let them.



Dumbass union mentality workers & welfare recipients pulling that big D lever and sending slimebags like Rendell to the capitol.

First thing the AH did was raise taxes, then they give themselves a fat raise (which will be a pittance compared to the kickbacks from the casinos)

Grade A scum.



That's no different than the Pennsylvania gun owner who pulls the D lever all the time and just gives an extra 10 bucks to the NRA.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:39:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
And Texas state legislators only get paid every other year... because our constitution only allows them to meet every other year.



Which allows fights to brew a good while before they're back in legislation
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:42:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By purplecheese:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
And Texas state legislators only get paid every other year... because our constitution only allows them to meet every other year.



Which allows fights to brew a good while before they're back in legislation



Perfect.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:43:01 AM EDT
I hate government.

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:47:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 10:51:32 AM EDT by Merrell]

Originally Posted By five-star:
The democrat law-makers in PA who voted against the pay raise got the shitty end of the stick.



That is true. All of their (D's who voted against the raise) committee chairmanships were revoked right sfter the vote was taken.


House Democratic leaders H. William DeWeese of Waynesburg and Mike Veon of Beaver Falls set off the controversy this week by removing some lower-ranking committee posts, worth an extra $4,000 a year, from 15 House Democrats who failed to support the pay raise.

But DeWeese spokesman Mike Manzo yesterday denied the moves involved any punishment or payback.

Rather, he claimed, some of the 61 House Democrats who supported the raise were being "rewarded." DeWeese's salary will be going from $100,000 a year to $134,000 a year, while Veon's will go from $94,000 to $124,000.




Note that DeWeese & Veon (BIG D's in Harisburg) are 100% PRO-trial attorneys

www.fightingdocs.com/main/information/main.cgi?choice=full_story;id=259

LIST OF THIEVES

Budget NO / Pay Raise YES
HOUSE

Baker (R-Tioga)
Birmelin (R-Wayne)
Cappelli (R-Lycoming)
Creighton (R-Lancaster)
Feese (R-Lycoming)
Leh (R-Berks)
Maher (R-Allegheny)
McNaughton (R-Dauphin)
Pickett (R-Bradford)
Rohrer (R-Berks)
Schroder (R-Chester)
Smith, B. (R-York)

SENATE

None


Budget YES / Pay Raise YES
HOUSE

Adolph (R-Delaware)
Allen (R-Schuylkill)
Argall (R-Schuylkill)
Baldwin (R-Lancaster)
Barrar (R-Delaware)
Bebko-Jones (D-Erie)
Belardi (D-Lackawanna)
Belfanti (D-Northumberland)
Bishop (D-Philadelphia)
Blackwell (D-Philadelphia)
Blaum (D-Luzerne)
Bunt (R-Montgomery)
Butkovitz (D-Philadelphia)
Buxton (D-Dauphin)
Caltagirone (D-Berks)
Cawley (D-Lackawanna)
Civera (R-Delaware)
Cohen (D-Philadelphia)
Cornell (R-Montgomery)
Corrigan (D-Bucks)
Costa (D-Allegheny)
Crahalla (R-Montgomery)
Cruz (D-Philadelphia)
Curry (D-Montgomery)
Daley (D-Washington)
Dermody (D-Allegheny)
DeWeese (D-Greene)
Donatucci (D-Philadelphia)
Eachus (D-Luzerne)
Evans, D. (D-Philadelphia)
Evans, J. (R-Erie)
Fairchild (R-Union)
Fichter (R-Montgomery)
Fleagle (R-Franklin)
Flick (R-Chester)
Frankel (D-Allegheny)
Gannon (R-Delaware)
Geist (R-Blair)
George (D-Clearfield)
Godshall (R-Montgomery)
Good (R-Erie)
Goodman (D-Schuylkill)
Gruitza (D-Mercer)
Harper (R-Montgomery)
Harris (R-Juniata)
Hasay (R-Luzerne)
Hennessey (R-Chester)
Herman (R-Centre)
Hershey (R-Chester)
Hess (R-Bedford)
Hickernell (R-Lancaster)
James (D-Philadelphia)
Josephs (D-Philadelphia)
Keller, W. (D-Philadelphia)
Kenney (R-Philadelphia)
Killion (R-Delaware)
Kirkland (D-Delaware)
LaGrotta (D-Lawrence)
Leach (D-Montgomery)
Lederer (D-Philadelphia)
Lescovitz (D-Washington)
Maitland (R-Adams)
Major (R-Susquehanna)
Manderino (D-Philadelphia)
Markosek (D-Allegheny)
McCall (D-Carbon)
McGeehan (D-Philadelphia)
McGill (R-Montgomery)
Micozzie (R-Delaware)
Miller, S. (R-Berks)
Mundy (D-Luzerne)
Mustio (R-Allegheny)
O'Brien (R-Philadelphia)
Oliver (D-Philadelphia)
Petrone (D-Allegheny)
Phillips (R-Northumberland)
Pistella (D-Allegheny)
Preston (D-Allegheny)
Raymond (R-Delaware)
Roberts (D-Fayette)
Roebuck (D-Philadelphia)
Rooney (D-Northampton)
Ruffing (D-Allegheny)
Santoni (D-Berks)
Sather (R-Huntingdon)
Smith, S. (R-Jefferson)
Solobay (D-Washington)
Stetler (D-York)
Stevenson, T. (R-Allegheny)
Sturla (D-Lancaster)
Surra (D-Elk)
Taylor, E. (R-Chester)
Taylor, J. (R-Philadelphia)
Thomas (D-Philadelphia)
Tigue (D-Luzerne)
Veon (D-Beaver)
Walko (D-Allegheny)
Wansacz (D-Lackawanna)
Waters (D-Philadelphia)
Wheatley (D-Allegheny)
Williams (D-Philadelphia)
Wright (R-Bucks)
Youngblood (D-Philadelphia)
Zug (R-Lebanon)

SENATE

Armstrong (R-Lancaster)
Brightbill (R-Lebanon)
Conti (R-Bucks)
Corman (R-Centre)
Costa (D-Allegheny)
Erickson (R-Delaware)
Fumo (D-Philadelphia)
Greenleaf (R-Montgomery)
Hughes (D-Philadelphia)
Jubelirer (R-Blair)
LaValle (D-Beaver)
Lemmond (R-Luzerne)
Madigan (R-Bradford)
Mellow (D-Lackawanna)
Musto (D-Luzerne)
O'Pake (D-Berks)
Pileggi (R-Delaware)
Punt (R-Franklin)
Rhoades (R-Schuylkill)
Robbins (R-Mercer)
Scarnati (R-Jefferson)
Stout (D-Washington)
Thompson (R-Chester)
Wenger (R-Lancaster)
Williams, A. (D-Philadelphia)
Williams, C. (D-Montgomery)
Wozniak (D-Cambria)

Organization trying to throw them OUT!!!

Pass the LIST OF THIEVES on to everyone you know and VOTE THEM OUT!!!
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:49:28 AM EDT
It's called a kleptocracy.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:07:11 AM EDT
Just read this morning. Of the 27 legislators who voted "NO" on the pay raise.....27 will take the pay raise. With the excuse of using it for charitable contributions or "not taking the raise will not do my district any good."

They have grown to fat and happy! They take a third of my income and they spend it where I don't want it spent. And then tell me that they are the ones making the big money decisions.

Senator Gerald Lavalle has issued a statement indicating his office will no longer entertain any more questions on this subject.

It's all about "ME" ! The whole country has become "How much am I gonna get out of this"
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:08:08 AM EDT
Nice. Good thing the 'common man' can still afford rope.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:09:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 11:22:34 AM EDT by bulldog1967]

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Sometimes I start thinking it might be nice to move back to PA, then I see crap like this.

They'll keep pulling this BS as long as the voters let them.



+1 Former Pennsyltuckian here too.

Of course the DID vote for that assclown Rendell...(well Filthadelphia and P-Burg did anyway.)
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:13:24 AM EDT
Hooooooly shit...!
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:25:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Razorking:
Just read this morning. Of the 27 legislators who voted "NO" on the pay raise.....27 will take the pay raise. With the excuse of using it for charitable contributions or "not taking the raise will not do my district any good."

They have grown to fat and happy! They take a third of my income and they spend it where I don't want it spent. And then tell me that they are the ones making the big money decisions.

Senator Gerald Lavalle has issued a statement indicating his office will no longer entertain any more questions on this subject.

It's all about "ME" ! The whole country has become "How much am I gonna get out of this"



List those 27 and add them to the LIST OF THIEVES and circulate it to everyone in PA you know.

Not only run these fuckers out of office, but boycott their businesses and let their clans know what POS they are.

Their per diems and car allowances and everything else is nothing but outright raping of the taxpayer.

Print the list and print it again when elections come around again. Hand them out at the polling places.

Throw them out of office.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 5:40:05 PM EDT
Pretty F*&^%$# pathetic in my book.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 5:42:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By five-star:

The democrat law-makers in PA who voted against the pay raise got the shitty end of the stick.



Yep
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:12:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
And Texas state legislators only get paid every other year... because our constitution only allows them to meet every other year.




I wish we had that.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:21:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
And Texas state legislators only get paid every other year... because our constitution only allows them to meet every other year.




I wish we had that.

I wish the entire nation at ALL levels would return to a Citizen-Statesman model, where govt service is an off-season event and their primary income lays elsewhere. That a term-limits out to really weed out the deficients. All we'll have left are those that really really REALLY want Power (as well as those willing to do the work of the Country)
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:26:10 PM EDT
Anyone notice that the fuckers did it at 2AM on July 7th ???

If that's not the sneakiest underhanded crooked-assed cocksucker move, I don't know what is...
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:34:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 6:35:14 PM EDT by leelaw]

$20.5 million per year to cover the salaries and benefits of the state's 253 legislators. That's nearly double the $11.9 million annual outlay that taxpayers in California, the nation's most populous state, pay for the compensation of their 120 state legislators.


$20.5M / 253 = $81,027

$11.9M / 120 = $99,166

Talk about a play on words.. they make it sound as if the members are being paid TWICE as much as CA legislators, from "the nation's most populous state"

And by the way, if CA is much more populated than PA, why does PA need nearly twice as many legislators?
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:43:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
I hate government.


Government is a necessary evil, and they add to the problem.

Here in Kali-fornia, the legislators have insulated themselves from the politcal stigma of giving themselves a pay raise by assigning this task to a bipartisan "commission" with the purpose of studying and recommending Cali legislator's salaries by studyng what states pay their legislators.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:03:20 PM EDT
"You vote yourselves salaries out of the public funds and care only for your personal interests; hence the state limps along". - Aristophanes
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:07:41 PM EDT
What did you expect from a state that is half-runned by the mob and the other half by the unions?
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:09:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leelaw:
And by the way, if CA is much more populated than PA, why does PA need nearly twice as many legislators?



Likely because in CA the population is cenetered around the major cities, with unpopulated deserts in between. PA has two major cities but a large number of minor cities, towns, townships, and evenly spread out rural communities.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 3:16:36 PM EDT
Article in the Philly Inquirer called for a lawyer to start impechment procedure against the whole group. Sound idea and seems to be in the state constitution. Would love to see it happen. Next election it will be out with old in in with the new, whoever that may be!
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