Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bill Would Ban Automatic Pay Hikes

State lawmakers and other government officials get a pay raise today but many legislators insist they don’t want the extra money.
A 1995 law ties government officials’ pay to the region’s consumer price index, so lawmakers, cabinet secretaries, judges and row officers are getting a 1.7 percent raise.
It amounts to a 13-hundred dollar pay bump for rank-and-file lawmakers.
Auditor General Jack Wagner says the automatic increase is a bad move during a recession, pointing out Social Security benefits stayed level for older Pennsylvanians this year.

"They don’t get an increase. They turn around, they look at Harrisburg. They look at the judicial system, they see a 1.7 percent cost of living adjustment. That’s wrong. It’s wrong at this time."

York County Democrat Eugene DePasquale says he’s introducing a bill repealing the automatic pay raises.

"In a year where you literally have no Social Security COLA, and an economy still struggling, that the governor, Pennsylvania legislators and other cabinet secretaries and judges can still get a pay raise without even a vote taking place highlights significant problems with this law."

Dozens of lawmakers are vowing to return the money to the State Treasury, and Governor-elect Tom Corbett says he’ll give his raise to charity but wouldn't say if he supports a repeal of the automatic pay hikes.
Since 2008, 32 senators and 98 House members have sent checks to the Treasury returning part of their pay increases.
A Treasury spokeswoman says the department has deposited the 191-thousand dollars back into the General Fund.

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