Lawmaker Perks Criticized In Wake Of Proposed Pa. Budget
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed state budget keeps his campaign promise to balance the budget without tax increases, but it comes at the price of cutting $1 billion in education.
If passed, the steep cuts will affect public schools and the state’s colleges.
What people really don’t like about this budget is what’s not being cut, like the state legislature. It’s the biggest full-time legislature in the country and one of the highest-paid.
While the governor is asking state employees to take pay cuts or freezes and pay more for health insurance, lawmakers continue to get annual cost of loving raises. Their current salary is $79,623 a year. Add to that a $163 a day per diem.
State senators pay just one percent of their health care costs. For state representatives, health care is free, courtesy the taxpayers.
But no one is making out in this proposed budget quite as well as Lt. Gov. James Cawley. His budget goes up 75 percent from $490,00 a year to $867,000. His spokesman says it’s because the last Lt. Governor served on an interim basis. They say his budget will be less than what the late Catherine Baker Knoll spent as Lt. Governor.
Cawley will continue to live in the Lt. Governor’s mansion in Fort Indiantown Gap. It’s a 2,500-sq. ft., three-story, stone house with a pool, pool house and a five-car garage. It’s run by a staff of six state employees. And you’ll be paying for renovations to the mansion.
But the Lt. Governor’s spokesman insists they are just minor repairs to the flooring and some painting. The spokesman wouldn’t say how much it’ll cost.
The governor’s staff makes out well in this budget too. Salaries average about $129,000 a year. That compares to average salaries of $116,000 under Ed Rendell.
But overall, Corbett’s office budget is down slightly from the Rendell administration.
The budget isn’t final. It still has to go through the legislature.