POLS ON THE STREET: Raises Kick In For State Officials – Again

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AFTER fabulous concert and performances by Phila. Orchestra and assorted talents, James Earl Jones, award-winning actor of Star Wars and Field of Dreams fame, received 2012 Marian Anderson Award from Pamela Browner White, board chair, and Mayor Michael Nutter. Photo by Bonnie Squires

BY JOE SHAHEELI/ This information could arouse some interest in additional challengers, especially if the economy continues to tank down. Legislators do enjoy an enviable salary, not counting the perks.

Also it doesn’t matter if private-sector employees’ wages are forecast to remain stagnant; pay raises are periodically guaranteed the lawmakers.

Come Dec. 1, legislators, judges and other top state-government officials will find their salaries have grown by nearly 2.2%. For legislators, the adjustment — based on the 12-month movement in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the Mid-Atlantic states — will raise their base salary to $83,802.

The raises range from $1,800 for State House Representatives to nearly $4,500 for the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.

In recent years, some lawmakers and other officials have made a practice of returning the raises to the state treasury or donating them to charity. Gov. Tom Corbett says he and 38 members of his executive branch will decline the money. Other members, not all, in the House and Senate, as in the past, are expected to turn their raises over to charity.

It’s good public relations, but in our long memory, we have never heard of a legislator or other state elected official losing an election because he kept the raise.

PA. WAS A KEY FOR OBAMA

Despite earlier reports, the vote counting in the Presidential election still goes on, with President Obama’s lead widening. But those analyzing the counting have come up with what the President’s campaign team knew all along … and that is Pennsylvania was key.

According to a New York Times article, “Pennsylvania alone would not have won the election for Mr. Romney. But if the national climate had been slightly better for him over all, he might have won Ohio and Florida. Winning Pennsylvania as well would have given Mr. Romney the Electoral College, even if he had lost Colorado, Virginia and the other swing states that Mr. Obama in fact carried.

“Does this suggest that Mr. Romney’s campaign was smart to invest resources in Pennsylvania in the closing days of the campaign?

“The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that it might have been better served by contesting Pennsylvania throughout the campaign, rather than just at the last minute.”

LEADING Mayfair-Holmesburg Thanksgiving Parade were State Reps. Mike McGeehan and Kevin Boyle and Councilman David Oh. Photo by John J. Kline

It’s all history. What comes out of this is: Do not sell Pennsylvania short in a national campaign.

HANGER FIRST DEMOCRAT TO DECLARE FOR GUV

Former State Dept. of Environmental Protection John Hanger is now the first Democrat candidate declaring he intends to run for Governor.

He is hosting a reception next weekend at the Pennsylvania Gathering in New York, where he hopes to draw commitments financially and otherwise.

CHALLENGE TO PASTORS PUSHING FOR CANDIDATES

Philadelphia’s Black Ministers, long noted and highly regarded for their ability to churn their support for candidates of their choice through a variety of ways, need know the Freedom from Religion Foundation is at it again. It has filed a lawsuit against the IRS in Wisconsin to force them to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they preach about moral issues in politics. Its premise is the Johnson Amendment.

Sam Rohrer, president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, advised members, “The legal challenge in Wisconsin may center around the ‘Johnson Amendment’, but it’s important to note this amendment does not restrict a pastor’s right to preach the whole counsel of God. In addition, our Constitution guarantees a pastor’s right, and God Himself mandates it. I encourage all pastors to stand boldly in the pulpits and preach all that God’s Word teaches for it alone holds the answers to confusion and division within our nation.”

WHILE MUSIC lovers gathered inside Kimmel Center for annual Marian Anderson Award, AFSCME workers demonstrated outside, in a protest aimed at Mayor Nutter’s refusal to sign contracts. Photo by Bonnie Squires

FEDS WANT 2 YEARS IN PRISON FOR MELLOW

Federal prosecutors say they want former State Senate Democratic Leader Robert J. Mellow imprisoned for two years because he ran his Senate office like a political organization, using its staff and resources for election campaigns and fundraisers, including exploring having him run for Governor.

A sentencing memo submitted Monday by US Attorney Peter J. Smith said the events all between 2006 and 2009, all on Senate time or using its resources, and regularly with the Senator’s input.

LAWYERS SPAR OVER MUSTO’S WELL-BEING

Defense and prosecution attorneys in the Raphael J. Musto bribery case filed dueling arguments with the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of whether the court should hear a pre-trial appeal centering on the former State Senator’s health.

Attorneys for the 83-year-old Pittston Township Democrat maintain liver disease and other ailments render him unable to help prepare his defense and would make a trial life-threatening. They sought dismissal of the charges or an indefinite trial delay.

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One Response to POLS ON THE STREET: Raises Kick In For State Officials – Again

  1. It is encouraging to hear Gov. Corbett and many of Pennsylvania’s legislators are either declining, or paying their automatic raises forward by donating them to charity.

    People of this state (and others) look to its leaders for appropriate behavior and decisions. In these times of financial devastation for many middle-class people, it is a slap in the face to hear of higher-end salaries being raised even higher.

    All legislators, along with corporate heads, should set examples of themselves and not insult their constituents or employees by “fattening their own coffers” while others are losing their homes, their jobs and their lives as they know them.

    Taking this a bit further to the national legislators, it is my thought that the majority of the American people would feel more encouraged if these persons were not able to utilize hard-earned tax monies to perpetuate their lifestyles; that they in fact should be subject to the same Social Security benefits, the same type of health-care the middle class is offered and not privy to the many perks that tax monies afford them.

    How can anyone think of utilizing benefits that were worked for by the citizens of America (i.e., Social Security and Medicare) to pay toward the national debt? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to cut flamboyant and unnecessary spending? No raises, no cost-of-living increase for high-end salaries? (This was done to senior citizens for two years whose income is certainly not high-end.) How about taking a cut in your salaries, perks and benefits to aid your country and stop overtaxing the working/middle class who have buckled under this financial pressure of taking the fall for legislative decisions?

    They say charity begins at home and whereas it is good to help others in need, is it really good for Americans to do without even more when they need so much at this time

    I say thank you to the Governor and to these Pennsylvania legislators. Hopefully they will serve as an example for others in government to follow suit.

    Gail
    November 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

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