Group: Lawmakers Not Asked To Sacrifice In Corbett’s Budget

By Jon Delano, KDKA Political Editor

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — During Governor Corbett’s budget address on Tuesday, he made a strong case that state employees, including public school employees, must step up to share the burden that average taxpayers have endured.

But one group on the public payroll was conspicuously absent from the call to sacrifice.

When Corbett addressed the 253 members of the General Assembly, he declared, “We cannot keep asking taxpayers to cover increased salaries and health care benefits for public sector employees when those taxpayers are losing the same.”

But one group of public servants was not asked to sacrifice, says Tim Potts of Democracy Rising, a Harrisburg reform group.

“He missed an opportunity to have the officials of state government share in the pain that is being inflicted on everyone else in Pennsylvania,” Potts told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.

While Corbett did cut his office by nearly six percent, he’s paying senior staff 11 percent more than Gov. Ed Rendell did, says Potts, averaging over $129,000 per senior staff member.

But it’s the governor’s failure to ask state lawmakers to sacrifice that angers many.

Comments on the streets of Pittsburgh:

“If he’s going to cut, everybody should be cut.”

“He’s not talking to the legislators at all.”

“No increase in salaries, freeze all salaries.”

A freeze? A pay cut? No, legislators just gave themselves a $1,300 cost-of-living increase.

While the governor called on state workers to pay six percent — instead of three percent — of wages for health insurance, Potts says, “He’s letting the legislature off the hook completely.”

State representatives pay nothing for health insurance right now, while state senators pay one percent – only $796 per year. Potts says taxpayers pick up most of the tab, about $19,600 per lawmaker and family.
And if the lawmaker stays in office for 10 years, he gets health insurance for life.

“Lifetime, top of the line health care benefits for themselves, their spouses, and any children under 21,” adds Potts.

And while Corbett was cutting money from schools and universities, he let the legislators keep their $188 million leadership accounts.

“Nobody else around here has a surplus. You shouldn’t have one either,” notes Potts.

Leadership accounts are a slush fund legislators use for anything like public service announcements and newsletters to – until recently – bonuses.

Supporters of Corbett say: first, the budget speech was not the right time to address legislative reform issues. Second, the governor does not have constitutional authority to use the leadership accounts and, third, Corbett is not backing away from his reform agenda.

Schools, Parents React To Gov. Corbett’s Budget
Gov. Corbett Presents Budget With Steep Spending Cuts
Education, Health Care Cuts Expected In Corbett’s Budget

Pa. Governor Tom Corbett
Democracy Rising PA

  • fedup

    seems pretty typical of the RICH MEN that run this state. Put the burden on the working man, and enjoy all the perks of their ivory tower.

  • Cookie

    As a state employee, I do not see how my union will stand for a freeze or wage cut when the legislators got MORE money. Two years ago when our paychecks were halted by a budget impasse, they got their daily expenses. What is up with these guys??

  • Dan

    This is no different than that idiot RAVENSTAL expecting us to pay 120.00 a day for parking…these idiots are completely out of touch

  • Hal

    Tom – I am a RAGING REPUBLICAN! Even I can see this is unfair and embarassing! Make them all pay health care. Are they all hypocrites? They want to cut education funding but raise welfare? What in the world kind of message is that sending? Scotty – Beam me up! I don’t think extra terrestrials are wasting any of their travel time visiting this goofy planet.

    • ZoeyZotron

      HAL – I am with you, these cuts need to be across the board! WhileI applaud the cuts that were made, the lawmakers should also share in the burden. The Private sector has been in this session for 2 years now, many of us lost jobs took cuts, lost benefits, or at a minimum have not had a raise so I feel no sadness for these cuts, but Mr.Corbett you need to address the lawmakers as well, even if it is just symbolic.

  • Matthias

    We are all fools to believe that either the Republicans or Democrats care about us.

    It is all about themselves and what they can get out of our tax dollars.

    It makes me sick. I wish something could be done about it, but the populace are overall either stupid or apathetic to do anything about it.

    • Dan

      “Changing parties will allow me to get re-elected”

    • Dan

      I agree with you 100% on that!

  • Frank

    Tim Potts? What a joke! What he never ever reveals is that 20 years ago he was a state legislative staffer making well over $80k. Figure it out in today’s dollars. Oh and he draws one of that taxpayer-paid pensions that you all like to rip. Furthermore, legislative staffers have not received COLAs contrary to what these “reformers” claim. So before anybody hits the “reply” button to spew venom to make yourself feel better, why don’t you consider the source in these articles…. it’s called GOOGLE…

  • Publius

    Think about it. Press is all over this issue. Maybe our new Governor knew the pressure would have to build first before he could force the legislatures hand on cuts to their health care and salary. Let’s see how thus plays out…if the press keeps the pressure on, they will play the legislature right into the governors reform agenda.

  • Anna

    He’s a true Rebulican all for Himself.

    • Matthias

      Like the Democrats are not for themselves either, Anna.

      Please. It is just that type of thinking that keep the “system” going as it is – status quo.

    • ZoeyZotron

      ANNA – That is a stupid comment. He SLASHED spending, nothing like a democrat.

  • suz

    I guess it is getting awfully close when you can’t do anything about it except “lock and load and carry a bible”

  • Mitch

    As a school board member this is totally unacceptable.

    • john

      what’s unacceptable Mitch is the fact that school boards have given outrageous raises to the unions and administrators … are you kidding me buddy? in this economy. your just as much to blame!

    • Bill

      Mitch, It flows down hill. These budget cuts are coming to school board meeting near you real soon. I hope you have the same guts to say “We are cutting salaries, football programs, soccer field improvements,Vice-Principal positions and so on. Stop trying to buy labor peace with 5 year contracts with annual 3-5% pay increases, minimal health care co-payments and so on. Keep in mind that the majority of Baby boomers will begin to RETIRE in 2012. You tax base is shifting to a “Fixed Income”. When the taxpayer come to the school board meetings one night screaming to Stop raising taxes and the Union school employees come in the next screaming ” Not fair” What is your plan?.

      • John_Adama

        Bill, I think the plan is to turn the channel on your bizarre Fantasy show….. Could you just link to where you copied this from so we can all just ignore you?
        BTW – John&Bill, most school board members a non paid positions….. what do you two ever do for free?

      • ZoeyZotron

        BILL – I could not agree more! Well said!
        JOHN – read what Bill said, he knows they are not paid. He is just pointing out reality. WELCOME to the RECESSION TEACHERS – The rest of us have been in it for 2 years.

  • Mr Soho

    Everyone has to share the pain, the free ride is over.

    • Matthias

      Who has a free ride?

      • Matthias

        Entiitlement programs such as police retirement funds?

        I see what you mean about Harrisburg and its status quo, but that is not on the table, so their free ride continues.

      • Mr Soho

        Matthias-the status quo in Harrisburg, and you forgot about our entitlement programs

      • Zoeyzotron

        MATTHIAS – I posted under the wrong comment. But what i said i stand by

      • ZoeyZotron

        PENSIONS are going away, deal with it you selfish jerk. Do you realize how your PENSION is funded…? By us, the taxpayers.. as we have to ay for our 401ks you want us to pay for your Pension… Suck it Bro! I am done.

      • ZoeyZotron

        And to answer your other question… yes, they have to be addresses.
        AND – Entitlements like WELFARE MUST BE REDUCED. We are 14 TRILLION DOLLARS in DEBT — Does that not register with you??? Do you know how damaging that is to the welfare of this country?
        We need to SLASH ENTITLEMENTS, wrap up these wars and bring our boys home, and seriously look at Medicare and Social Security. These are the facts, plain and simple. We will ALL have to sacrifice to get out of this.

      • Matthias

        Yo, yo, Zoey, who are you addressing in your nonsensical rant?

  • David Sakas

    Seems like that Gov Corbett wants everyone to sacrifice but his own Office and the legislators, They just gave themselves a cost of living raise, WHF IS WITH THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lou Alexander

    If the politician firmly believes that a all out revolt can’t take place then they are mistaken—people can only take so much before something has to be done–plan it right take the fight for what is right to the capital–make sure your plan is for the right—the state should put a freeze on all politicians and their staff salaries—cut the perks–if we want it bad enough we as a people can change the status quo—who is with me????

  • Lou Alexander

    Does anyone know where all the tobacco settlement money went?

    • Matthias

      Yes, I do. It went, as Cheech and Chong once said it, “Up in smoke.”

  • totalbs

    Lou–Tobacco settlement money went into General Fund. There are future installments coming from the tobacco companies pursuant to the agreement.
    Click on this link and scroll down… you’ll see the Fund is zeroed out and that money was moved around the General Fund.

  • Realist

    Budget cuts and pay freezes need to start at the Top first (Govenor and Legislators) before they can ask the same of everyone else. How can they ask someone to do something that they are not willing to do themselves?

    Why in the world should Legislators get healthcare for free and Govenors for only 1% when they make huge salaries, and why the h%@& should they get free health care for life (after 10 years) if they are no longer working for the state.

    I have never met any teachers or other public emplyees who get heath care for free and continue to receive it long after they retire, so why should they receive any healthcare once they are no longer in office?

    Maybe they should look at their own spending first, before asking anyone else to look at theirs.

  • really???

    I love how prision guards, police, and fireman have been working crazy amounts of overtime in order to receive bigger pensions when they retire, which is depleating the $$$ in pension plans. But, no one asked them to take a pay freeze and to pay more for healthcare.

    Teachers and educators were they only group of public employees asked to take a pay freeze and to pay more for their healthcare, and they are the only group who had not and can not work crazy amount of overtime to inflate their pensions–the only group who did not puposely and greedily contributed to depleating $$$ in the pension plan is the only group who is being punished for other public workers greed and wrong doings.

    How does that work????

  • eduparent

    Many of the comments are spot on, not all districts have inflated school budgets with high teaching salaries only a few. Corbett and his staff should be the first, along with the legislators to take a pay freeze and have their special perks cut. The biggest concern I have is that Corbett’s plan is working, he has pitted the middle class against each other so people do not realize what he is doing. He is passing the buck and making the local governments do his dirty work. He is having all of us use the teachers as the target so his gas buddies dont get taxed. This is his plan as is the plan of many republicans around the country. I reeally have never followed politics but this attack on unions and middle class vs. middle class is crazy. I think we need to make governmental changes. Change the way we do things, change the people we elect into office. If we want Pennsylvania to be great again it needs to start with our leadership not making one group a target.

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