Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who's the boss in Harrisburg?

John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call has an interesting take on the recent revelation that 73 staffers working for the Pennsylvania Legislature make at least $100,000 a year, which in most cases, is much more than their bosses get paid.

Whether the money is well spent is one factor, but Micek's story raises the question of how many staffers the 253 elected lawmakers need.

From Micek's story:
Critics of big government and other reformers question why the Pennsylvania Legislature needs scores of staffers -- many well paid -- when other states make do with far less.

The 203-member House had 2,245 employees as of Dec. 31, a ratio of 11.05 employees per lawmaker, records show. The 50-member Senate had 911 employees, or 18.22 staffers per lawmaker.

"Given our economy, obviously bigger isn't always better," said Matthew Brouillette, president of the conservative Commonwealth Foundation, a Harrisburg think tank often critical of government spending. "The people out of [the Capitol] I've tried to hire, I can't afford. The private sector isn't providing the kinds of salaries they're getting on the Hill."

Pennsylvania's median family income was $48,562 prior to the recession.
It also appears that the only way to get rid of these high-paid staffers is criminal charges, which is what happened with the Bonusgate corruption probe. Otherwise, politicians come and go, but a permanent (and well-paid) bureaucracy appears to be calling the shots in the Legislature.

Read Micek's full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Also check out an earlier post on the subject.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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