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Time to earn that pay raise

July 08, 2005

Time to earn that pay raise


Perhaps in an effort to reward themselves for passing the state's budget only a week late this year, Pennsylvania lawmakers gave themselves a pay raise Thursday.

Pennsylvania's lawmakers will now be paid more than $81,000. Taxpayers should demand that they earn every penny.

The Associated Press reported that the pay increase passed without debate, by a margin of 119-79 in the House and in the Senate by 27-23.

The increase, the first raise in base pay in 10 years, is a 16 percent pay boost and means that Pennsylvania's state lawmakers will earn the fourth-highest salaries in the 50 states.

The once-in-a-decade part of this raise may be deceiving, because, as AP reported Thursday, lawmakers in the Keystone State get an automatic cost-of-living increase each year, a $7,800-a-year vehicle allowance and up to $129 per day if they live more than 50 miles from the state capital.

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Perhaps as a result of this good fortune, lawmakers could figure out how to persuade local school boards to buy into the Legislature's plan to reduce local school systems' dependence on property levies, in part with slot-machine revenue.

After giving local school boards a choice as to whether or not to opt in to the program, lawmakers are now considering making it mandatory because many school boards have chosen not to participate.

A better bill and a better argument might change their minds. Now that the lawmakers have settled the salary issue, it's time to start legislating and persuading.

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