Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The legislative pay raise – how Pennsylvania compare to other states

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

With their recent pay increase, the Pennsylvania legislature is now arguably the largest and most expensive in the country. Salaries range from a minimum of $81,000 to a top salary of over $145,000 with base pay ranking second only to California legislators. Pennsylvania also has the largest number of legislators in the nation except for New Hampshire (a “citizen legislature” where legislators are paid $200 per two year term). As a result, the Pennsylvania legislature now ranks first in total amount of salaries paid to legislators, 22% higher than second place New York.

In addition to their hefty salaries, legislators' support staff was the second largest in the country in 2003 (the last year 50-state figures are available). Legislators also receive generous reimbursements and are entitled to a defined-benefit pension (whose cost is driven by salaries). According to the Pennsylvania Economy League, the 2005-2006 budget for the state legislature will cost Pennsylvanians over $460 million.

How do we compare with other states in terms of benefits?

Do we have low taxes? No - the Census Bureau ranked the states for 2004 on taxation. Pennsylvania is the sixth highest state in total taxes and the 20th in per capita tax.

Do our legislators control spending? No – Governing Magazine ranks Pennsylvania number four in terms of total state spending. Our legislators just passed a 6.1% increase in spending for next year.

Do we have a top notch school system? No - Pennsylvania ranks in the bottom 20% of states in SAT scores according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Are Pennsylvanians happy with their state legislators? The Pennsylvania Economy League published a 2003 survey in which over 70% of Pennsylvanians ranked state government’s overall job performance as poor or fair.

The bottom line is that compared to other states, Pennsylvania underperforms while legislators in Harrisburg pay themselves far too much!

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

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