KQV AM 1410

KQV Editorial

It’s Time to Reduce the Size of Our State Legislature!

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     While our state legislators are congratulating themselves – celebrating 101 days it took to pass the state’s annual budget- a compromise that pleases no one…and carries with it a cost of $27.8 billion…we are reminded that not only are our state legislators, by and large, inept, incompetent, and inefficient, there are also too many of them!

     Often identified as the nation’s largest fulltime state legislature, they are an embarrassment to those of us who pay their salaries.  Finding the few who are competent would be a daunting task…like looking for that proverbial needle!

     Let’s get the facts on the table.  There are 253 members of our state legislature.  They also have the distinction of being one of the highest paid legislatures in the country.  Let’s compare our legislature to those in Ohio and Illinois.  Ohio has 132 lawmakers and Illinois has 177.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Add to that all the perks and benefits our lawmakers receive!

     It comes down to this – the cost of each state legislator and staff is $1.6 million annually.  Multiply that by 253 and you can see what we are faced with.  Let’s consider another factor that’s worth our attention.  Pennsylvania lawmakers who qualify can begin receiving a full pension at age 50.

     There have been a number of cases where a retired legislator makes more in retirement than he or she did when serving in office.  Does it make any sense that legislators can retire at the early age of 50 and reap all the benefits of their pension and perks?  We know from experience that not all of our legislators are Rhodes Scholars.  Yet the one thing they all know how to do is feather their own nests…and they know how to take care of each other.

     They are always on the lookout on how to increase taxes to spend…like the state income tax – or the sales tax – or any other convenient tax.  Forget about efficiency in Harrisburg or streamlining to government.

     The state legislature – oversized as it is – won’t reduce its size unless we force them to.  They like to operate in the shadows.

     Here’s something else worth considering – studies have shown that a smaller state legislature can operate much more efficiently than a bloated one like we have.  There’s some faint hope in the works.  Two bills have been introduced, proposing a reduction in the size of our legislature.  Whether they ever see the light of day is another matter…but at least they have been proposed.

    Let’s remind our state legislators that they are supposed to serve us.  Have we all forgotten that?  Our #1 priority is clear – that’s to pare the size of our state legislature.

     Let’s stay with it!  


Robert W. Dickey


KQV Newsradio
October 16, 17, 18, 2009                                   


Submit Your Feedback

Our bloated legislature apparently feels no responsibility to PA voters, yet there must be some way that we can motivate a constitutional amendment. Are there constitutional lawyers willing to step to the plate and help? How can we coordinate an effort to achieve the reduction?
-Sandra, Pittsburgh

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