Friday, May 29, 2015

Yet another legislative ripoff

Every time you think you've heard or seen enough examples of your state legislators serving themselves instead of you, another one comes along.

Yet another legislative ripoff

Okay, you all know there are plenty examples of how your 253 state lawmakers serve themselves a lot better than they serve you.

You know the list: good pay, better benefits, great pensions, per diems, mileage, gerrymandered job security all provided by taxpayers for whom lawmakers are supposed to work but somehow manage to do nothing about -- for example -- pension reform, liqour reform, transportation funding, Philly schools and then leave town leaving part of their "on time" budget undone.

Now come details on how even FORMER state lawmakers continue to dip into the public till in ways that are, well, just not right.

Harrisburg TV station WHTM-ABC 27 reports that part of the pension mess lawmakers mostly created includes a little going-away gift: unlike most public employees who have to wait to collect retirement pay until they are 62 or 65, lawmakers can retire and collect at age 50.

As a result, former lawmakers serving in Congress -- and collecting public salaries there of $174,000 each -- can also collect state retirement pay while they're still "working" in Congress; and we all know what a fine job they're doing.

Examples?

Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts is getting a state pension of $90,834 per year on top of his congressional pay. This is after also collecting a lump sum of $215,000 when he left the Legislature.

Democratic U.S. Rep. (and gubernatorial candidate) Allyson Schwartz is collecting $18,340 a-year in state pension.

Republican U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent is collecting $16,439 per year.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach is getting $15,441.

Your tax dollars serving those who need it most.

And you wonder why lawmakers won't vote for pension reform?

Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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