(The Center Square) — Even in the current inflationary moment, Pennsylvania legislators receive automatic pay raises. A proposed bill could put an end to that, along with raises for judges and executive officials.
Senate Bill 1007, introduced state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Chambersburg, who’s also the Republican gubernatorial nominee, would remove annual cost-of-living increases for legislators, judges, the governor and lieutenant governor, along with the heads of executive departments.
The increases are tied to the consumer price index to adjust for inflation.
“As the citizens of Pennsylvania struggle to make ends meet in the face of historic inflation and soaring energy costs, these automatic pay raises are indefensible,” Mastriano said in a statement. “SB 1007 is vital to build trust with the taxpayers, particularly in the face of a worsening economic crisis.”
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Legislators don’t have to accept the pay raise, but the vast majority do. As reported by SpotlightPA, very few legislators return funds.
“Just six state lawmakers — Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R., York) and Pat Stefano (R., Fayette), and Reps. Greg Rothman (R., Cumberland), Frank Ryan (R., Lebanon), Tim Bonner (R., Mercer), and Patty Kim (D., Dauphin) — have given back at least a portion of their annual pay raises in the last four years,” Stephen Caruso wrote.
Generally, efforts to curtail pay raises may gain support, but die in committee or fail to advance. Mastriano’s bill was introduced in January, but still sits in the State Government Committee.
Pennsylvania legislators earn a base pay of $95,432 and earn more than all other state legislators except for California and New York. They can also receive reimbursement for travel mileage and a per diem of $178/day for expenses related to official business.
“Many of the men and women in our commonwealth’s workforce do not receive the same type of automatic annual pay raise tied to inflation,” Mastriano wrote in his legislative memo. “As public servants, we should not receive special treatment when it comes to our salary.”
Anthony Hennen is a reporter for The Center Square. Previously, he worked for Philadelphia Weekly and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He is managing editor of Expatalachians, a journalism project focused on the Appalachian region.
This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.