Tuesday, October 04, 2005

PA Government

Published in , The City Paper; "RANT"

Dude, Where’s my State?

Its getting so bad that people are driving to Harrisburg to inflate big pink pigs on the capitol steps. Elected officials are telling their constituents to, "get a life." Local house and senate members are refusing to return calls and their personal web sites have no information on their recent midnight pay hike. Local state representatives, senators, and state judges called the public’s anger, "A knee jerk reaction" and the result of a "slow news month." Have you tuned it all out? Is this business as usual in our state government? Will democracy prevail? Will it just all go away? What is this guy talking about? Why should I care?
If you have failed to read any local media, listen only to your IPOD and don’t bother with AM radio you may not have heard what has happened with our state legislature (senators and representatives). Around midnight when they though everyone was sleeping and no one would care, they voted themselves a really, really, big fat, super-duper payraise. What a job! You get to decide how much money you make and it doesn’t matter if you suck at it!
What they get: a salary of between $81,050 and $134,00 / $7,800 per year for a car / mileage reimbursement / $129 a day for expenses / full health care (at a premium of $14,000) / fully paid pension / other perks
What we get: tax increases / no property tax reform / the second largest and most expensive legislature in the country / loss of jobs and population / a poor business climate / crumbling schools / but... you can buy a beer on Sunday
Myth one: Our constitution will protect us. It does say the legislature will note vote them selves a payraise while in office. They must first face the voters. The legislature just called it an unvouchered expense (translation: they did whatever they wanted, usually called a crime). Try to ask your employer for an unvouchered 15 grand and see what happens.
Myth two: The courts will stop them. Why would they? They are included in the payraise. To add to it, Judge Cappy (with a salary of $171,800) may hear a law suit against the pay raise after he got a nice big fat raise himself! I wonder if he can give a fair ruling when he remembers why he changed his vacation plans from a weekend at lake Erie to two weeks at Lake Taho.
Myth three: The governor will help us, he’s on our side. WRONG! Mr Rendell initially said he would not allow the payhike unless the legislature also raised the minimum wage for the working stiffs. Then he said he thought the raise was illegal. Then he said, "We need property tax relief." Oh, sorry, he said that four years ago. Current PA minimum wage yearly income: $10, 712. Current minimum salary of our PA legislature: $81,050 (eight times as much!). Maybe we can hire eight minimum wage workers to drag every legislators’ ass out of Harrisburg.
Myth four: Screw it, we can’t do anything about it, they do whatever the hell they want to anyway. WRONG AGAIN! We can vote them out of office. All of them. Vote against retention of judges. Vote against incumbents in the primary. Vote against incumbents in the general election and don’t let them get away with it. They work for us and they are doing a terrible job. They stole our money, ignored the constitution, raised our taxes, and they just don’t give a shit.
Do you?

1 comment:

Askinstoo said...
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