State Budget Includes Salary Increases For Legislators

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When it came to cutting funds to education and virtually every state department, the state legislature didn’t spare the axe, except when it came to their own salaries.

The new state budget includes salary increases for each legislator.

Nina Esposito-Visgitis, of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, says she is appalled that the legislature would cut more than a billion dollars in aid to school districts and give themselves a pay bump.

“They seem to want to put it on the backs of others, but not take any responsibility themselves and that is unconscionable,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

The legislators don’t even need to vote on their salary increases; they come automatically every year under a 1995 bill giving them an annual cost of living benefit.

Every year, each gets an increase tied to the consumer price index – usually between two and five percent.

“With the amount of cuts that hit just about every line item in the budget to some extent, it’s not something I feel good about. It’s not something I take now,” said State Sen. James Brewster, of McKeesport.

Since he’s been in the State Senate, Brewster has joined other legislators in putting his cost-of-living increases back into state coffers. He says he’d support an effort to repeal the automatic increases.

“We’re only here for one reason, to service the public, and I think it’s important that they know we’re not here for the money,” he added.

There are some bills to do away with the cost of living increases, but none have gone beyond committee and none are expected to be voted on this year. For the foreseeable future, the legislators will continue to collect these increases regardless of how much they cut in other areas.

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  • pavoter

    Way to go legislators. Don’t initiate legislation that would repeal the yearly increases. WooHoo. You don’t even have to pay union dues for this. Remember that you reap what you sow and you are sowing seeds of discontent with voters.

  • Tea Party Thinker

    Cut the size of the legislature and make them all PART TIME without retirement or benefits as some other states do. Then we will see who is there for the good of the people. Also make it a conflict of interest to enter into any business with a business that has been granted a tax break during your watch. The Governor should also be cut part time. Since school districts are downsizing along with other government departments, so should the government. Corbett does not need a governor’s mansion all of the meetings could be done through video conferencing. No more vehicle costs either. Let them stay home on their own dime and not mine.

    • Zoeyzotron

      Right on!

      I am for all the spending cuts (and more). Our government (even if only symbolic) should be doing the same.

      • Zoeyzotron

        Democrats are receiving the 4% too, are they not?

        Regardless, even if they take a pay cut (and they should) its a drop in the bucket. until real spending cuts are enacted we will not get out of this mess.

      • hwright

        There you go zoeyzotron you buddy republican looking out for you again!!!

  • wood

    even union members are upset about this

  • JackSplat

    This is totally our fault. We vote for these A Holes and they do nothing. Well, time to vote against every one of them. Both party’s….makes no difference. VOTE’em OUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!

    • jaybird

      These politicians state and federal are all millinares and they don’t need a salary.They have never worked a day in their lives.Why no S.S.increase for last 2 years because there was no cost of living incresa so they say.They don’t go shopping and see what the price of gas is and groceries because the tax payers pay for it.VOTE THEM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • KKnox

    @ wood. I agree with you. as a union member for the past 32 years, this pay increase upsets me, especially after cutting to a crucial thing like education. Maybe they cut education to fund their pay raises.

  • Linda

    Maybe they figured they would get 2 raises, the automatic 1 and the 1 they voted for seeing as how they didn’t need to vote on raises.

  • Linda

    Maybe they figured they would get two raises, the automatic one and the one they voted for, seeing as how they didn’t need to vote on a raise at all.

  • baker6

    Lets give more money to the Port authority

  • john

    the education cut really hurts the growth of this state. no wonder why people are leaving and NOT coming back!!!

  • I am so frustrated with our government. - Page 4 - City-Data Forum

    […] […]

  • Anonymous

    Im getting me a state job, then Im telling all unions that they have to go because it is thier fault that the state has the deficit it does, then when I’ve got all people against unions and hating on them, I’m giving me a raise! I deserved it I worked so hard.

    Phew, all in a days work, and they pay me BIG bucks to do this! Now whose laughing?????

  • FedUp

    I voted for Corbett and agree with what he has done with education, from cutting the budget to passing legislation that would require a referendum vote before allowing taxes to be raised above the rate of inflation. I also believe there should be legislation making it illegal for teachers to strike, as is the case in a number of other states.

    That all being said, I think Corbett is out of touch with reality and needs to take his budget axe to his own house. Pennsylvania is top-heavy with legislators. He should cut our legislature by at least a third. He should do away with automatic cost of living raises, replace it with some type of incentive-based system and impose a one year freeze on all legislative salary increases. The current economic pain should be shared from top to bottom.

    I also disagree with Corbett on his refusal to impose a Marcellus Shale gas extraction tax. It should be reasonable and only used in the communities affected by gas extraction and ONLY to fix whatever infrastructure that is damaged by such extraction. That would include investing in public water sources if any contamination is caused by such extraction.

    It’s not rocket science – it’s plain old common sense which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem that common anymore!

    • Sonja Jones

      You got that right and along with that eliminate all the welfare payments in form of pensions and health benefits to all public employees, let them pay for that, like we do.

    • CPA

      The Governor cannot cut the legislature at his whim. He needs either to get the legislature on board or do a constitutional convention, which opens up another can of worms. The reality is, Tom Corbett talks the talk but can’t do anything about it. Now regarding the shale gas tax. Natural gas, whever it is produced, is sold on the open market and the market determines the price. Whether the producer has to pay an extraction tax is irrelevant, the price of the gas produced in PA brings the same price as gas produced in Texas. The only difference is that the profit margin is greater in PA because the producers do not pay an extraction tax as they do in Texas.

    • The One

      Well said.

      I am up in the air on the Shale Tax, it is going to bring a million jobs and all those people will pay PA taxes. I guess as long as the tax is reasonable and does not chase the jobs away I would agree. also, any revenue needs to be put towards reducing our deficite, not spent on welfare, state pensions, etc….

      • The One

        So what are you saying?

        I personally hate the idea of any new tax that simply funds more out of control spending. Rendell damaged this state for several years to come.

      • hwright

        But will the jobs go somewhere else??????? The gas is in Pennsylvania they still have to extract it from pennsylvania… You know and I know they may pay the Tax but will pass the tax on to the customer! But who really knows the customer of the gas they are extracting?????? They pipe the majority of gas they extract to a major pipeline that runs through this state and goes wherver. They give royalties to the land owner and he pays tax on that. Why?

  • jodi geyer

    Their raises average more than $6000 per year. Imagine what that 6k multiplied by all of their jobs could do for the children of PA.
    Remember this in the next election, PLEASE!

  • Anonymous

    So we cut funding to schools so the legislation can make more money. Way to go government!!!! Come on!!!

    • The One

      No, we cut education spending because education has spent with wreckless abandon over the past 8 years. There is much fat to be trimmed.

      • The One

        I think there is a TON of fat and wasteful spending in the government! Which is why I will always vote for smaller government.

        Do you realize that you are contridicting yourself?? you vote democrat and they are 100% for bigger government. You do know that right?

      • Mad Hatter

        Hey Democrat, big government is what democrats do. Swollen welfare programs, expanding IRS, controls over industry all come to mind. This is solely what Obama is about.

        I think you are a bit confused.

      • Robert

        Democrat – Education is a government job, so yes i agree with you, there is plenty of FAT in government…

      • Anonymous

        Teachers do not vote themselves raises. Teachers do not have staff budgets. Teachers do not have gov cars. Teachers do not get health care for life after only working 4 years. Teachers are not vested in their retirement after only 4 years. We do not even get supply budgets. Teachers are not the cause for bloated government. Your good governor has increased the salaries of his staffers. He has put friends on boards regulating gas drilling. He is as crooked as fast eddy and most are too stupid to realize this. He has been bought out and is selling out the state.

      • The One


        You seem to be totally missing the point. I think most people here would agree that teaching is important. However, the money has run out and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Like the thousands of companies that sadly had to let people go and slash expenses so will government funded jobs. its simple economics and its going to happen.

      • Robert

        Anonymous, I am simply stating my feelings towards educational spending/budgeting, as a taxpayer and homeowner in western PA. You can take it as a random sampling of how the general public feels or not.

        As I have said before though, I think it is amazingly selfish that as an obviously sheltered government employee you do not recognize what the majority of this country has been going through for 3 years.

      • DemocratNOW

        Really now and there NO FAT IN GOVERNMENT>???????????????? Government has been spending wrecklessly for decades. You are REDICULOUS!!!! Dont worry YOU WILL BE VOTED OUT…..

      • Jeeperz

        There is much fat to be trimmed? Kinda like the fat raises they received?

  • Dilbert

    Does this mean KDKA has done this same story every year since 1995 and the law that gives them the automatic raise has never been changed? So much for the power of the media

  • tessa skurka

    cutting education?? really??? and america is crying now because we cannot compete with other countries…doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that education in our young people is vital to compete globally. the way things are going, you can bet america will be #1 in prisons and recidivism!

  • sheriff willie joe

    This is so wrong on so many fronts. These people need to be removed from office next election & you need to write you legislators to get a drive underway to make these positions as part time with little to no benefits. This is a smack in the face of all citizens who are suffering through this recession.

  • Mike

    As an educator, I am absolutely sick to my stomach and disgusted by this. Every single one of their heads should roll, beginning with our governor, who continually acts like a bully and refuses to tax Marcellus shale drilling. We sacrificed, now it’s your turn Harrisburg!

    • Warlock Jones

      Guess what Mike; we are all sick of funding your pension and ridiculously cheap healthcare.

      • Pondering

        Mike, you should be making minimum wage for your master’s degree. Your years as working as a sub without benefits do not merit any sacrifice what so ever. Warlock is right, if his job at the 711 does not have any benefits, why should yours? He obviously has time to post during his busy day. Hey let everyone starve why not? The republicans have your back, in their sights. Being a republican is like living without health care, it is great until you get sick or something happens. Repubs are like the welfare mommies they complain about.

        They want:
        Road work – no taxes
        Police – no taxes
        Education for their boat load of kids – no taxes
        Social security – no taxes
        Tax breaks when they have a ton of kids
        Military protection – no taxes
        Safe food – no taxes for food inspectors

        Republicans = WELFARE MOMMIES!!!!!!!!

      • Mad Hatter

        Ponder – why should only half the country pay taxes? How about the 47% that pay nothing or worse yet, only take do their part? Maybe then we could all be happy, no new taxes on us folks that pay to much already and RESPONSIBLE funding for government operations.

        Also, no one want to hear anymore how hard teachers work. I’ll bet your really busy today with school work… We all work hard and have paid for our educations too. its no big deal to have a Masters…

      • Pondering

        THe above is mine.

    • Pondering

      Mad Hatter ponder this:

      1. The unemployment rate is 10% of higher. That knocks your number down to 37%
      2. Most of those who do not pay taxes do not work – gee you cannot squeeze blood out of a rock.
      3. It is a misnomer that they do not pay any taxes. Even low income purchase items and taxes are paid. If they do not live in public housing, landlords pay real estate and income taxes.
      4. How many corporations are not paying taxes to begin with? In addition, state taxes have less exemptions than federal and we are talking about the state here not the feds. That is an entirely different scenario.

      • Pondering

        I forgot. Many of those who do not pay state income taxes are retired seniors as retirement pay is not taxed in PA. That is not just traditional pension holders but also 401k earners. Maybe it is time to tax pensions then as well.

        Also, if you knock out some of the social programs – like food stamps, the price that you pay for food will go up even higher to make up for the loss of income of the grocery sellers and suppliers. In addition, a poor man circulates money while a rich man puts it in the bank. I am a saver and have been for years so I know this to be true. That is why trickle down will never work. My tax give always from uncle sam end up in roth ira.

        What would I know, I have money…………..

      • Anonymous

        Before you start arguing. My source of income is not through being a teacher. However, I understand what they do and their importance. I have friends who are teachers and I see what they go through. At one point in my life I taught inner city students and you really do not know what you are talking about. Just what type of job do you have? Does it involve:
        1. Violence – how many fist fights have you broken up? How many times were you assaulted on your job? – physically and verbally.
        2. How much education do you really have?
        3. Does your job require higher education but yet does not pay for it?
        4. How many supplies for your job do you purchase out of your pocket?
        5. Do you supervise between 20 and 130 workers per day?
        6. If you are a supervisor – are you held accountable for that worker’s output but yet you are not able to select your employees or provide recommendations for removal.
        7. Do you have to call the parents of your employees?
        8. Have any of your employees thrown up on you or have had any other bodily flood incidents?
        9. How many of your employees have you cried over?
        10. Do you look over each of your 20-130 employees work and provide only constructive feedback?

        I would respect you if you answered each of these questions. See I do not work with you and I do not know the nature of your job. Therefor, I have no comment as to whether you earn your money. You, however, make assumptions as to what teachers to and what they should earn.

      • Mad Hatter

        You know why? because the % of corporations and inflation adjusted wealth in the US has diminished with the loss of manfacturing.

        I guess all the people that work for corporations do not pay taxes….

        How much do schools pay in tax each year….

      • Pondering

        Thought that you would like more stats on corporate taxes:

        “Between 1965 and 2009, corporate income taxes in the U.S. have plunged from 4 percent of GDP to 1.3 percent. That compares with an average of 2.4 percent for nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. ”

      • Pondering

        I have enough money to be stable and to not bs about slight increases in taxes.

        Population for the US: 307.007 million

        Work force – 153.693 million –

        Number working – 139.779

        Number of unemployed – 13.914 million

        How can those who are unemployed get jobs when you claim that it is 17%? Are you going to hire 13.914 million people? If my paying slight increases in taxes keeps people working, then so be it.

      • Mad Hatter

        1) So you think that is a good thing? Whats your point? Also 10% (actually 17%) is the % vs employed, not the entire population
        2) Time to get a job. What is the average time a recepiant has been on welfare?
        3) yah, they purchase items with TAXPAYER MONEY through entitlement programs 9it is only recylced, not newly generated.
        4) Corporte taxes account for the largest amount of taxes collected from one group, 10% of the total amount. Note: that does not include the taxes collected from the corporations employees.

        PS – you dont have that much money if you contribute to a Roth….

  • pure economics

    Look the legislators saved more money by their cuts than what is spent on their pay. Think of this raise as a sales commission. The more they cut, the more they save you so what is an extra couple of bucks in their pay really worth? This is how CEPs earn their money anyway. The more they save in expensive labor costs, the more they earn. If they are able to reduce worker’s salaries and benefits then they can share in the profits. People just don’t get this. This is capitalism and to the victor goes the spoils. I would not want it any other way.

  • Old & Tired

    PONDER- by your logic, we should eliminate all corporations. Lets tax them all so they move more off shore. Great Idea ding bat. that will help unemployment. that will help our depleated taxbase.

    guess what, whats left of my retirement is invested in corporations so i for one would like to see them do quite well.

    • hwright

      If you love the industry heres the job for you Zoeyzotron!!! Great Labor laws in effect!!!!!!
      What kind of family life can you have working like that?????
      Thats a sign of NO UNION…… welcome to the global economy!!!

      Aerotek Energy Services is currently seeking dedicated and reliable candidates to work for a growing Oil & Gas Water Transfer company located in Eighty Four, PA. This company is heavily involved in the hydraulic fracturing (Fracing) process in Oil and Gas. Candidates should be familiar with working outdoors, have a strong labor employment history, and be willing to work up to 80 hours a week.

      Job Responsibilities:
      -Working with pumps, piping, water tanks, hoses, and other related equipment
      -Working in all weather conditions
      -Working up to 80 hours a week
      -All manual labor

      -Strong labor work history (Construction, general labor, auto mechanics, Oil and Gas, etc)
      -Willingness to work outdoors 100% of the time
      -Willing to work on a rotating schedule (10-14hr shifts)
      -Willingness to work 7 days a week if required
      -Willingness to commute to remote locations for on site work.

    • Pondering

      You are the dingbat as you cannot see that the corporations have been shipping profits overseas now and have been doing so for some time. They pay the media and cry wolf while they are reaping big profits. I hope that you are not too tired to work at either McDonalds or 7/11 when the good business people succeed in slashing your social security and medicare. May be you can take out a reverse mortgage or donate your old and tired body to science.

      • Zoeyzotron

        pondering – that was to you, not Mr. old.

        also, i am curious… Where exactly do you have your retirement invested?

      • Zoeyzotron

        It’s pretty clear that you get all of your information form a union newsletter.

        It’s a global economy, i suggest you update your skills and get on board or I guess you can just sit around and continue to post your early 80s union sob story rhetoric.

      • Old & Tired

        Wow, thanks for sharing your extreme insight…. Sorry, I just don’t see it that way.
        You do realize that corporate profits are distributed among millions of SHAREHOLDERS, which i obviously happen to be one. I am sure you are one too assuming you have a pension or 401k at a minimum… I personally could care less about one employee (the CEO) making millions. He probably deserves it and besides that, its a drop in the bucket.

        I am ashamed to say I voted democrat in 08 but I promise you that will NEVER happen again.

      • Insight

        Think old timer. Right now shareholders are workers. Worker’s jobs and 401k are being eliminated. There will be no profit sharing in the near future. It will go back to what it was around1900 when you had fat cats and poor people without much in the middle. You just keep thinking that big companies are your friends as they divest themselves from your interests and well being.

      • Pondering

        Think old timer. Right now shareholders are workers. Worker’s jobs and 401k are being eliminated. There will be no profit sharing in the near future. It will go back to what it was around1900 when you had fat cats and poor people without much in the middle. You just keep thinking that big companies are your friends as they divest themselves from your interests and well being.

  • pensive

    Executives write off dinners and parties because they are business related. It would be interesting to see how many golf clubs have corporate type memberships. It is bogus and Americans are fighting against each other for the trickle down crumbs that corporations throw to us.

  • Pondering

    nothing is posting

  • ecole

    business as usual rob the poor and give to the rich

  • disgusted

    Look I’m a teacher and I just got my letter of unemployment. But let’s be realistic here folks. I got laid off because I was on the bottom of the seniority list of a union. Was I the worst teacher in the district? H3LL NO. There are so many bad teachers out there protected by their tenure. In most industries, these people would of been fired long ago. How about BAD PARENTING. Has anybody thought about the fact the reason a lot of students are so far behind is the fact that their parents have ZERO respect for education and for themselves. So as a teacher, you are forced to pick up the slack of a moron parent. Oh wait, let’s mention the fact that no one OWNS a house anymore. Dear me if you have to pay property tax to support your neighborhood school. I can go on, but let’s focus on what the truth is TEACHERS and everyone else. Education has NOTHING to do with politics and it sickens me that it is so drenched in the political filth it is. the fault in education lies with those who put pensions, heath care, tenure, masters, i need my prep, and that’s not in my contract. I know this is is all jumbled up but I’m pi&&ed on all ends of the spectrum..

    • Anonymous

      I understand how you feel but your fellow teachers are not responsible for your layoff. Many of us have been through reductions in staffing, strikes and other times that were similar to this. I had to substitute for many years before I could find a full time contract job. Things happen and you will have to deal with them as anyone else will. I even doubt that you are a teacher because of the rhetoric that you are using. There are not so many bad teachers there because of tenure. There are really not that many bad teachers period. At least you did not loose your job because some school board member’s kid just became a certified teacher. Did you think that tenure was argued for, for that reason? Like it or not, teaching is political and that is why union members have fought for some protections. By the way, NO ONE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR will give up their pensions or benefits for you either so stop whining. I need my prep? Since when does a prep period take away your job? IT DOES NOT. I really do not think that you are a teacher because most of us are not that whiny. When I graduated there were no job openings and I could not get unemployment as I did not have a job. I went out and made opportunities for myself. Sure it took time but it worked.

    • Sonja Jones

      You poor dear, you will get called back before the end of August. They will do their magic, kick the can down the road and you will suck the teat of the taxpayer for another year. You need to go into the medical field or be a mortician. That way you will not be relying on minimum wage property owners to hold you up while they get sucked down into the pit of nothingness.

      • Anonymous

        You are a real piece of work. I guess you are a minimum wage earning tax payer – NOT. Please go get a job and get off the computer. Upper Saint Clair does not have that many minimum wage earners.

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