BY JOE SHAHEELI/Â 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 doesnâ€™t matter if private-sector employeesâ€™ 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 â€” based on the 12-month movement in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the Mid-Atlantic states â€” 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.
Itâ€™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 Obamaâ€™s lead widening. But those analyzing the counting have come up with what the Presidentâ€™s campaign team knew all along … and that is Pennsylvania was key.
According to a New York Times article, â€œPennsylvania 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.
â€œDoes this suggest that Mr. Romneyâ€™s campaign was smart to invest resources in Pennsylvania in the closing days of the campaign?
â€œThe 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.â€
Itâ€™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
Philadelphiaâ€™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 Pastorsâ€™ Network, advised members, â€œThe legal challenge in Wisconsin may center around the â€˜Johnson Amendmentâ€™, but itâ€™s important to note this amendment does not restrict a pastorâ€™s right to preach the whole counsel of God. In addition, our Constitution guarantees a pastorâ€™s right, and God Himself mandates it. I encourage all pastors to stand boldly in the pulpits and preach all that Godâ€™s Word teaches for it alone holds the answers to confusion and division within our nation.â€
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 Senatorâ€™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 Senatorâ€™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.