So much for reforming the way things are done in Harrisburg.
The Associated Press reported today that nearly half of freshmen state House members and one new state senator have signed up for taxpayer-funded leased vehicles. These are the same people who ran last year on a platform to clean up Harrisburg. I guess they need to get to Harrisburg in luxury automobiles before they can start cleaning things up.
Twenty-three of the 50 freshmen members of the House have opted for the leased vehicles, according to a review of House records by The Philadelphia Inquirer. File this under "Do as I say, not as I do." Or file this under, "I told the voters what they wanted to hear to get elected. Now, I'm going to live it up on their dime."
Not everyone succumbed to the perk-mania that strikes legislators when they get to Harrisburg.
Freshman Rep. RoseMarie Swanger, R-Lebanon, chose to drive her own car, according to the AP. She will be reimbursed for mileage.
"The people saw these benefits as excessive and I felt an obligation to do my part to bring it back in line," Swanger told the AP.
Gene Stilp, a Harrisburg activist who unsuccessfully challenged the car leases in court last year, told the AP that the freshmen legislators of "just falling in line with what has been going on for years."
All of the House members below will be seeking re-election in 2008. You might want to save this list until then.
The Associated Press released this list (compiled by The Philadelphia Inquirer) of the state-subsidized vehicles that freshmen members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly drive and the monthly cost to taxpayers:
— Sen. Elisabeth J. Baker, R-Luzerne; 2004 Jeep Cherokee; $244
— Rep. Lisa Bennington, D-Allegheny; 2004 Ford Crown Victoria; $436
— Rep. Joseph F. Brennan, D-Lehigh; 2003 Chevy Trailblazer; $476
— Rep. Eugene A. DePasquale, D-York; 2006 Ford Escape; $442
— Rep. John T. Galloway, D-Bucks; 2005 Chrysler 300; $299
— Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-Lawrence; 2004 Ford Taurus; $283
— Rep. Patrick J. Harkins, D-Erie; 2005 Chevy Uplander; $382
— Rep. John Hornaman, D-Erie; 2005 Dodge Durango; $370
— Rep. Chris King, D-Bucks; 2004 Jeep Cherokee; $427
— Rep. Deberah Kula, D-Fayette; 2005 Jeep Cherokee; $290
— Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer; 2003 Ford Taurus; $335
— Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Fayette; 2004 Dodge Durango; $439
— Rep. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery; 2004 Ford Explorer; $419
— Rep. Jay Moyer, R-Montgomery; 2004 Ford Explorer; $419
— Rep. Michael H. O'Brien, D-Philadelphia; 2005 Chrysler 300; $299
— Rep. Eddie Pashinski, D-Luzerne; 2005 Chrysler 300; $299
— Rep. Tony J. Payton Jr., D-Philadelphia; 2005 Chevy Impala; $302
— Rep. Michael Peifer, R-Pike; 2007 GMC Envoy; $588 (private lease)
— Rep. Tim Seip, D-Schuylkill; 2005 Jeep Cherokee; $290
— Rep. Frank Shimkus, D-Lackawanna; 2004 Dodge Durango; $439
— Rep. Matthew Smith, D-Allegheny; 2004 Ford Explorer; $419
— Rep. Rick Taylor, D-Montgomery; 2003 Ford Explorer; $461
— Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery; 2005 Jeep Cherokee; $290
— Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Allegheny; 2005 Jeep Cherokee; $290
Sources: Pa. House and Senate clerks.