Friday, December 5, 2008

Critics: COLA Giveback a Sham

More state lawmakers are pledging to return the cost of living raise they received December 1st to help the state's budget crisis. But others are critical of those public proclamations.

Republican State Representative Daryl Metcalfe says many of the new Democratic House leaders are hypocritical for calling on members to give back their raises, while the leaders will still be getting large salary increases for being elected to the new caucus posts.

"I think they're trying to pull the wool over the taxpayers' eyes. I think they're trying to make the taxpayers think that they're looking out for them because they're willing to give back a few thousand dollars."

Metcalfe says even if lawmakers return the net amount of the cost of living increase - they still get credit on their pensions for the higher salary.

GOP State Senator John Eichelberger says if lawmakers are serious about saving state money, they should stop using those funds for what he says are campaign purposes.

"The taxpayers provide through the caucus newsletters to all the constituents, television show programs on community access and public service announcements."

Eichelberger has refused those perks and others including a state car, per diem payments. He estimates that over four years he will save the state $500,000.
However, Eichelberger's Senate Republican leader earlier this week announced he would return the cost of living increase.

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