PA legislative salaries are way out of line

The average salary of a Pennsylvania legislator is about $82,000 – second only to California.

A Texas legislator receives $7,200, and New Mexico’s legislator doesn’t get paid at all.

Pennsylvania also provides generous expense allowances, health insurance and retirement benefits. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s average household income is only $50,000.

Many claim high compensation attracts the most capable people. It may attract the most capable at getting elected but not at governing.

As evidence, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and Illinois pay the most, yet California is consistently ranked as the worst-run state in America.

Illinois is ranked 48th, New York 39th and Pennsylvania is ranked as the 20th best-run state.

From 1789 to 1855, members of the U.S. Congress received $6 per day while in session because the founding fathers viewed holding office as public service as opposed to a career. The career politician, however, claims he has the benefit of experience.

He may benefit from his experience, but do we? Evidence shows that the experienced politician spends the most and gets paid the most.

The career politician’s primary concern is re-election, and one does not get re-elected by cutting programs.

That is most evident at the federal level where Medicare is the largest driver of the country’s debt, but neither Congress nor the president will even bring it up for fear of incurring the voters’ wrath.

If the 1789 to 1855 compensation policy was in effect and adjusted for inflation, the Pennsylvania congressman would earn about $158 per day, but only for the 150 days or so that Congress is in session.

Also, there would be no generous expense account, health insurance or retirement benefits. Perhaps the founding fathers knew something that we don’t.

Paul Zupich