Sunday, August 14, 2005

Insights from Operation Clean Sweep on repealing the Pay Raise in Harrisburg

The latest news from Operation Clean Sweep, an effort to kick-out greedy politicians from public office brings this insight.

The proposed bill in Harrisburg to repeal the "unvouchered expenses" portion of the pay raise is sponsored by Rep. Will Gabig of PA's 199th District. Although it may seem like a good idea on the surface, we say to Rep. Gabig: "Not good enough!"

We demand a FULL repeal of HB 1521, the pay raise bill, including the salary increases for the executive and judicial branches. The wording could be very simple; something like "HB 1521 is hereby repealed andt his repeal goes into effect immediately. All unvouchered expense reimbursements already received by legislators shall be turned over to the General Fund within ten days."

What's curious is Rep. Gabig's reasoning that the unvouchered expenses are unconstitutional. We absolutely agree and have argued this point since July 7. But Rep. Gabig voted YES on the pay raise and initially stated he would accept the unvouchered expenses. Is Rep. Gabig admitting that he just wasn't sure what the PA
Constitution says and has personally violated it by voting for an unconstitutional bill?

That would be a severe offense for a member of the General assembly, as their oath of office swears them to defending and upholding the Constitution. We believe Rep. Gabig's actions are a clear violation of his oath of office. We also view his sponsorship of this bill as nothing more than disingenuous backpedaling.

We're going to see a lot of this kind of backpedaling over the coming months. We'll also have to withstand the incumbents' usual ploy of delivering those oversized novelty checks to try to buy our support. We say ignore them. We can't be bought. We have principles. If they `stick it to us' once, they'll surely do it again if they get the chance.

The Sunday PG had a story on the pay grab on its front page.

The Sunday PG also devoted a good chunk of its front page on the lack of news from the British tabloids. So, our front page news is about their lack of decent front page news? That's worthy and par for the course in Pittsburgh.

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