Pennsylvania State Lawmakers Were Paid $25 Million in Salary for 50 Days of Session

This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire

By Adam Andrzejewski
Real Clear Wire

Pennsylvania state legislators’ salaries cost at least $25.3 million per year for only about 50 days of session, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the Inquirer, Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the country with 253 members of the state House and Senate. This is substantially more than states with similar populations, like Illinois, which only has 177 legislators.

They are also some of the best-paid legislators, with all members making at least $100,000 per year. Only two other states, California and New York, pay their legislators over $100,000 per year. New York and California both have a higher cost of living.

While legislators make at least $25.3 million, the true number is higher, because some members of leadership can make up to $150,000 per year. These salaries do not include additional perks, like $181 per diem for every day they go to Harrisburg, and reimbursement for travel mileage.

Despite the hefty compensation, which the Inquirer notes is about double Pennsylvania’s average salary of $50,400, these legislators aren’t putting in full-time hours for their citizens. The Inquirer found the Senate has an average of 52 work days per year, while the House averages 45 work days. This light schedule allows many legislators to legally moonlight at other jobs while they’re not in session.

While lawmakers likely do work at their elected positions when they’re not in Harrisburg, it’s still difficult to justify the $2,000 per work day. This is especially true because, as the Inquirer notes, they don’t do their jobs particularly well.

The General Assembly was expected to present a balanced budget before they left last month for recess, but were only able to pass a general spending plan with no funding increases or new initiatives.

Public servants shouldn’t make high salaries for failing to do their job, and Pennsylvanians would be right to demand an explanation from state legislators as to why they earn as much as they do.

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This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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