State lawmakers find it a little easier to cope with the economic crisis today – at least on a personal level.
Today, base salaries for House and Senate members increase 2.8 percent to $78,315 thanks to an annual cost-of-living-adjustment they set in motion in 1995. For more details see the Inquirer’s recent story on the subject.
A group of Harrisburg activists, dressed in doctor's coats, seized on the day to call on the legislature to rescind the COLAs.
Gene Stilp, founder of the reform group Taxpayers and Ratepayers United, called the procedure "a COLAectomy."
And he predicted that the public, much like it did in the 2005 payraise debacle, will force lawmakers to perform the surgery. "These COLAs will not stand," Stilp predicted.
New lawmakers start receiving the higher salaries today, too, although they haven’t officially been sworn in. They don’t take the oath of office for the new two-year session until Jan. 6, but technically they are the ones who hold the legislative seat.
For departing lawmakers like Sen. Vincent Fumo (D., Phila.), who resigned to devote more time on his federal corruption trial, their last day in office was yesterday. Although they have already received their last monthly state check, for many large pensions are waiting.
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