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Pa. legislators from Franklin County to give raises to local charities

Each year, a 1995 Pa. law adjusts the salaries to reflect changes over the last 12 months in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the region

December 02, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s legislators, judges and top executive-branch officials will be receiving automatic salary raises of 2.2 percent, but some said they are not counting on that money for their take-home pay.

Gov. Tom Corbett will be eligible for a $187,256 salary, but he will refuse the pay increase and continue to accept a salary of $174,914, which is what he earned when he was elected in 2010, his spokesman told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.

Corbett’s Cabinet secretaries also will continue receiving the salaries that were assigned to their post in 2010, spokesman Kevin Harley said this week.

Each year, a 1995 state law adjusts the salaries to reflect changes over the last 12 months in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The salary adjustment for judges and top executive branch officials takes effect Jan. 1, while lawmakers see the change Dec. 1.

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Dan Egan, from the Office of Administration, said the executive branch has a payroll system that can essentially pay an employee the full amount under the law, then use a payroll deduction to reduce the paycheck by the percentage of that year’s increase.

“By law, we must pay them the full statutory salary,” Egan said in a phone interview.

The cost-of-living increase for 2012 was 3 percent, he said.

While the executive branch enabled payroll deductions, the legislative and judicial branches might have different systems, Egan said.

State Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Cumberland/Franklin, shared a letter from the state’s comptroller, saying members of the General Assembly are statutorily required to receive a cost-of-living adjustment. The letter states members cannot select their level of compensation.

“This does not preclude you from using this additional compensation in any manner you choose, including contributions to charities or other designated groups,” the letter states.

Salaries of rank-and-file lawmakers, like Reps. Kauffman and Todd Rock, R-Franklin, will increase from $82,026 to $83,802, while 14 members of leadership in each chamber will make more than that, topping out at $121,418 for the party floor leaders.

“I have always voted against increases in legislative compensation, but the annual salary is set in law. I’m going to continue doing what I have done in the past in giving far and above the amount of the statutory increase to local charities,” Kauffman wrote in an email.

State Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, said he plans to continue giving his pay increase to charities.

“In years past, I wrote checks out to the Treasury every quarter. Last year, I started donating it to charities,” said Alloway, whose salary also will increase from $82,026 to $83,802.

Those charities are listed at www.senatoralloway.com on a page labeled “It’s Your Money,” he said.
Likewise, Rock said he plans to turn over his raise to local charities.

“I’ve donated my raise to local charities every year I have been in office and keep records of where the money goes. Only one person ever asked to see my records,” he wrote in an email.

Rock said he would prefer the raise not be automatic.

The judicial branch treats the pay raises similarly to the legislative branch.

“All judges must accept the salary that is set by law for their position. What they do with the raise amount is up to them individually,” said James Koval, spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Most Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices will make $199,606. The president judges of the Superior and Commonwealth courts will make $194,145, while the rest of the judges on the two statewide appellate courts will be paid $188,337. Common pleas judges will make $173,271 and magisterial district judges will make half that, $86,639.

Some Franklin County magisterial district judges said they were not aware of the 2.2 percent raise.

“I haven’t heard anything about it,” Magisterial District Judge David Plum said, adding he would return the raise if he knew a method by which to do that.

“I’d have to refer to my state association for that,” said Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham, who said he had not been notified of the increase.

The county’s other magisterial district judges are Jody Eyer, Glenn Manns, Larry Pentz, Kelly Rock and T.R. Williams.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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