An Inquirer report traces the history of attempts to challenge the use of "unvouchered expenses" as a way to get around the requirement that all pay-hikes begin only in the next term.
Pennsylvania courts have held that unvouchered expenses are constitutional, in essence because the General Assembly said they were different from pay and because the plaintiffs were unable to prove otherwise.
Opinions differ on whether a more convincing argument could be made today than previously.
John Grogan is on vacation, but encourages his hometown citizens to keep angry, informed, and active as the story of the pay-hike circulates around the country and legislators start to scramble to rationalize or back away from it.
In what might be the funniest math since Reaganomics, [Rep. Daylin] Leach rationalized the 16 percent pay raise (leaders got 34 percent) as "hardly outrageous" because, if averaged over 10 years, it would come out to just 1.6 percent a year. What he glossed over was that lawmakers have been giving themselves a cost-of-living raise every year for the last decade.
Yeah, I noticed that too.
The pay-hike controversy has brought a lot of attention to how PA government works. For example, while critics frequently complain about our pols now being the second-highest paid, it's also true that they're among only a handful of states (four, in fact) that have full-time legislatures. A piece from Harrisburg notes, however, that some of our full-time politicians manage to maintain secondary careers as well, ranging from law practice to construction oversight. The article argues that Pennsylvania's government should scale back its operations to allow part-time public servants; I'd take the opposite tack and say that the complexity of our state's operations justifies full-time employees, and especially at the new ("attract good workers") rates, they should all be required to give up their other jobs. (via Edico)