November 21 – Well, it looks like our Harrisburg representatives are getting a pay bump – a considerable pay bump.
There will be a 3.5 percent pay raise going into effect for our legislators as of December 1. It will add another $4,000 to salaries that are already among the highest in the nation.
This will increase the base salary for PA legislators to $106,000 a year. Leadership and floor leaders will see even more than that and judges and executive branch officials will also see a pay raise.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “All because it’s the CPI. As it goes up so too does the outlay out of your pocket, and boy oh boy. Have we ever been screaming for a part time legislature? It’s a full time legislature with the third highest paid in the nation and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll pointed out, “We’re only behind California and New York when it comes to pay for the General Assembly and they’re only in session about 45 or so days a year. This raise is on top of a massive raise last year based on CPI because remember years ago to avoid voting on this every year, it’s just set on cruise control. It’s tied to a CPI index, whatever the CPI is, it’s just an across the board raise for all of these state officials, which works well for them because it avoids having to put this on the vote every year on the floor.”
This will also increase retirement benefits for legislators.
Barkdoll said, “Because those benefits are tied to pay. So that’s also going to contribute to this cost. It’s one of these issues, everyone running for State House or State Senate and if you polled them 100 percent would say we need to reduce the size of the legislature. They support term limits. They support going part time. They support reducing the pay. But as I often say, the beat goes on. Nothing ever changes. They get elected on those platforms, but never do you see the votes get to the floor to make these things new law in Pennsylvania. So it’s going to be more just business as usual. I don’t expect you to see any action, this pay issue or any of those other issues I just ticked off.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “Instead, you see this ‘wah wah’ from people who retired who aren’t getting all these lovely benefits that the legislation has been passed in the House saying, oh, well, we feel sorry for them. They’re not benefiting from all this. Let’s give them all this, a one-time cost of living increase that would be from 15 to 24.5 percent, but that’s not a drop in the bucket as people try to say it is. That’s going to be a huge other obligation for taxpayers. That’s not the point. The point isn’t we want to make all the state employees equal to this kind of absurd pulling out more tax money. These are people that retired a long time ago that really benefited a lot from their retirement, as they’re still going here. That’s way more than people in the private sector get but no, no, no, we got to try to make them all equal. This is insane. We’re not going to be able to afford this.”
Barkdoll insisted, “This affects everyone. Just yesterday, I was sitting in a board meeting, where pay raises were on the agenda for the employees next year and I think as expected, management brings out the chart. Here’s what the county workers got this year. Here’s what’s happening at the federal level, here’s the projected state pay raises. Then they get into all these union contracts and this is the point I always make in these discussions. These pay raises have kind of this ripple effect throughout the economy, public and private sector employers across the board, they look at this when they’re looking on how they’re going to establish their own pay raises going forward and to me, this three and a half percent, really is the floor because you’re actually seeing raises at other municipal levels in the fives and the sixes going forward. So it affects everyone.”