Friday, February 16, 2007

Libertarians calls on Democrats and House Republicans to stop bonus dole

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania issued a press releases.
State Senate Republicans end bonus payouts

Harrisburg, PA – Responding to growing criticism, Pennsylvania State Senate Republicans recently ended their practice of handing out special bonus payouts to their staff.

Over the past two years, the legislature has handed out more than $3 million in payouts, including $2.3 million by state Democrats. Individual amounts ranged from less than a hundred dollars to more than $40,000.

Mik Robertson, LPPA Chair, said, "the Libertarian Party endorses the fiscal constraint shown by State Senate Republicans. I urge the Democrats and House Republicans to demonstrate the same fiscal responsibility."

James Babb, Libertarian candidate for State Representative in 2006, took a different perspective. "This should be another wake up call for Pennsylvania voters. As if the pay-raise scandal never happened, the arrogant incumbents continue to find ways to reach into the taxpayer cookie jar. Electing Libertarians to the Pennsylvania legislature is essential if we are to restore fiscal restraints in Harrisburg."

Tom Andrews, spokesman for House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese indicated that the bonuses were an internal personnel matter.

Freshman Senator John Eichelberger of Blair County disagrees and is asking the attorney general "to investigate any possibility of political payback with taxpayer funds for a select group of individuals typically involved in campaign work."

Gene Stilp, leader of a citizen’ group called Taxpayers and Ratepayers United, has gone further, filing a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court calling for full disclosure of the names of the people who received bonuses, whether the bonuses were given for campaign work rather than legislative work, and what the source of the money was.

Robertson summarized "By ending the bonus payouts, Senate Republicans have sent a positive message about the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest and cutting government spending. This is an important issue for Pennsylvanians. All members of the General Assembly should show they endorse this action by providing full disclosure on past bonuses while ceasing undisclosed payout of public funds."

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