(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)
JB: Great news, boss, the state's economy must be picking up!
BE: Wait, didn't the Guv just ask for some big state government cuts in the face of reported revenue shortages of half a-billion bucks?
JB: Oh, sure. He SAYS the state needs to cut $226 million. But, hey, that's just one man's opinion. Our feckless legislature, the largest full-time legislature in the nation with the largest staff in the nation, is clearing the way for most of its staffers to get pay raises.
BE: So, you're saying our legislative leaders must know something the Guv does not?
JB: Exactly! Why else grant pay hikes to staff while state union employees, teachers and others still have their salaries frozen?
BE: Come to think of it, didn't lawmakers just get a raise?
JB: They did. They KNOW the economic sun is rising. Plus, who deserves a raise more? Look at all they've accomplished.
BE: I can't think of a thing.
JB: OK, don't look at that. Look at how many of them there are: 253 lawmakers with a staff of 3,000. That many talented professionals can't be wrong.
BE: Do I detect a hint of sarcasm here?
JB. From moi?
BE: Where's this raise stuff coming from?
JB: Front page story in today's Harrisburg Patriot-News: a month after lawmakers got a 3 percent raise, boosting base salaries to $82,296 (much more for leaders), staffers employed by the House Republicans and Democrats and by Senate Democrats are now eligible for "merit" raises up to 2.5 percent. And a couple hundred of these folks make about the same -- and in some cases more -- than lawmakers.
BE: Wait, what about Senate GOP workers?
JB: Nope. No raises for them. Despite the fact their bosses got raises, they're gonna have scrape by on current pay.
BE: Doesn't seem fair.
JB: Maybe they buy into that "shared sacrifice" thing.
BE: Glad somebody does.
JB: And I'm glad for this sign that the state's economy is evidently picking up. I just think it's GRRRReat! Grrrr.