Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Newspaper calls for constitutional convention to reform PA's broken government

"A constitutional convention might be the only way to achieve real reform in Harrisburg," argues The Philadelphia Inquirer in an editorial calling for a constitutional convention to reform one of the most dysfunctional and corrupt state governments in the country.

From the editorial:
Harrisburg's 101-day budget delay was further proof that the legislature is incapable of reforming its unproductive ways.

And it's all the more reason why the state needs to consider a constitutional convention.

After the pay-raise scandal in 2005, legislators promised to change their broken system of governing. Then-Speaker Dennis O'Brien (R., Phila.) even appointed a commission to recommend reforms in state government.

But the resulting changes were largely window-dressing to temporarily appease the public. The legislature agreed not to vote after 11 p.m., for example, but it dodged more meaningful reforms such as campaign-donor limits.

Even an influx of new representatives in 2006 couldn't change what came next: indictments against a dozen House Democratic officials for allegedly using public money for campaign purposes, followed by the nation's longest budget fight. Similar indictments for the GOP are expected soon.

The legislature costs taxpayers about $300 million per year, and Pennsylvanians know they're not getting their money's worth.

It's clear that the time for the legislature to reform its broken ways has all but expired.
Read the full editorial, "Conventional wisdom," at the newspaper's Web site.

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