Pennsylvania Legislative Salaries Hit $90,300 Not Including Benefits

Pennsylvania Legislative Salaries Hit $90,300 (and this doesn’t include benefits).

By Leo Knepper

As of Dec. 1, the base salary for Pennsylvania lawmakers will increase to $90,300 per year. This pay raise comes as the result of an annual cost-of-living-increase (COLA) they receive automatically. The higher salary will be on top of any per diems, health insurance, etc. that lawmakers are eligible to receive.  

As an aside, lawmakers pay only one percent per year of their salary for health benefits. In other words, their annual premium is roughly $900 for health insurance that is second to none. There are many taxpayers whose monthly insurance bill exceeds that amount.

The $90,300 salary is the minimum for members of the General Assembly. As noted by the Associated Press:

“Lawmakers in leadership posts will top out at $141,000 for House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson. The four caucus floor leaders in the House and Senate will each make almost 130,900 while the four caucus whips and the four Appropriations Committee chairs will receive $121,100.”

The salary differences between rank and file members and “leadership” are especially noteworthy. It presents another clear example of how our beloved judicial branch ignores the plain text of the Pennsylvania Constitution. According to Article II, Section 8, “The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise.” (Emphasis added)

Members of the General Assembly aren’t the only ones who will benefit from taxpayers’ forced generosity in the new year. When January rolls around, members of the executive branch will also see an increase in their pay. Governor Wolf’s salary will increase to over $200,000 per year. The Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Tom Saylor, will make over $220,000 per year.

Many lawmakers will, if they haven’t already, make a show of donating their salary increase to a charity. It is a standard public relations move on their part, and has become as regular as the leaves changing colors. However, despite their righteous indignation, there is never any real interest in eliminating the automatic COLA by changing the law. Finally, for any lawmakers in the defined benefit pension plan, the higher annual salary, regardless of charitable contributions, will be used to calculate their pension benefits upon retirement.

Unlike members of the General Assembly, CAP can’t force anyone to pay for projects we want to undertake. Next year is going to be incredibly busy for us. If you value what CAP does and would like to help us continue holding Harrisburg accountable, please consider making a financial contribution to our efforts.

Pennsylvania Legislative Salaries Hit $90,300 (And This Doesn’t Include Benefits)
Pennsylvania Legislative Salaries Hit $90,300 (and this doesn't include benefits).

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated Compensation

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated Compensation

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated CompensationBy Sen. Scott Wagner

The Pennsylvania State Senate held budget hearings, Feb. 23, and one of the agencies that testified in front of the Appropriations Committee was the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). 

PASSHE oversees the 14 state-owned universities which are:

1.  Bloomsburg University

2.  California University

3.  Cheyney University

4.  Clarion University

5.  East Stroudsburg University

6.  Edinboro University

7.  Indiana University

8.  Kutztown University

9.  Lock Haven University

10. Mansfield University

11. Millersville University

12. Shippensburg University

13. Slippery Rock University

14. West Chester University

The Chancellor of PASSHE appeared in front of the Appropriations Committee to answer questions.

One of my Senate Colleagues asked what the average salary was for a university professor – the Chancellor responded that it is approximately $85,000.

When it was my turn to ask questions I focused on his response of $85,000.

I stated to the Chancellor that this week did several stories on people employed by the state making more than $100,000.

I went on to tell the Chancellor that in the PennLive story there was reference to the swim coach at West Chester University who earned total compensation of $313,954 in 2016. And by the way, this same coach earned $420,172 in 2015.

I continued to walk the Chancellor through the compensation for the swim coach – his base salary was $77,285 and the rest of his compensation was additional income earned running summer swimming camps.

Then I asked the Chancellor this question:

When the swim coach retires will his pension be based on his base salary or his total compensation?

The Chancellor responded that it depends which pension program he is in.

Here is where my brain goes into overdrive.

I went on to say that if the pension is based on his base salary that may be reasonable, but if his pension is based on his total compensation – which I think will be the case here – that means a swim coach making over $300,000 per year could potentially get two thirds of $300,000 which is $200,000 per year for the rest of his life. 

I will research the answer to this question and get back to you with the answer. 

The $64,000 question is this –  Am I right or am I wrong?

Click on the links below to view the stories.

The story referencing the West Chester swim coach is in the second story. 

One in 14 State Government Employees Made the $100,000 Club Roster in 2016

Meet the State Employees Who Had the Highest Earnings in 2016: $100,000 Club

We will have the answer next week.

I want to introduce another slogan:  “Harrisburg and State Government – the gifts that keeps on giving.”

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated Compensation

Paul Mullen Salary Is Sweet

Paul Mullen Salary Is Sweet
Paul Mullen (right) trying to get liberal Democrat Joe Sestak elected U.S. senator.

Paul Mullen, who is running as a Republican in the Aug. 4 special election for the vacant 161st District Pennsylvania House seat, makes more than $130,000 per year as business manager of Local 654 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Why did the Republican Party pick Mullen who has spent the last five years working hard to get liberal Democrats elected to state and federal office? Why is extreme liberal Democrat John Kane supporting him this election?

Those are certainly good questions to mull.

An even better one is will Mullen quit his easy and lucrative job as IBEW business manager if he should manage to win the race, which we grant is anything but certain.

Pennsylvania  legislators are, after all, paid very nicely with the understanding that they are doing a full-time job. It seems rather hard to believe that someone can handle two such important well-paying jobs at the same time.

So will Mullen quit as IBEW business manager? Somebody should ask him but nobody seems to be able to find him.

His Republican opponent , Lisa Esler, has said she will quit her full-time job as an optician if elected. Further, she will not take the state pension. Further, she will work to cut the pay and perks of being a state legislator.

Unless you happen to be a special interest living high on the hog by milking the public cow, the smart vote in the 161st District on Aug. 4 is writing in Lisa Esler.

And on a related matter, Mullen is claiming he is no longer president of the Delaware County council of the AFL-CIO. Somebody better tell the AFL-CIO to fix their website.

Paul Mullen Salary Is Sweet

Pa Legislative Salary Automatically Rises To $85,356

The automatic pay raise Pennsylvania legislators have been getting since 1995 takes their salaries to $85,356 for 2015.

All without a vote.

This does not count health care benefits, retirement packages — oh so sweet retirement packages — nor other perks like per diems.

This is an increase of $1,300 from last year.

The presiding officers will be getting $2,100 raises bringing their salaries to $133,000.

One word describes this: corruption. The people we elect to look out for us are looking out for themselves.

Hat tip Donna Ellingsen

Pa Legislative Salary Automatically Rises To $85,356

Big man, Pig man — Pa Legislative Salary Automatically Rises To $85,356

John Kane Compensation Challenge

We were challenged concerning the $277,000 taxable compensation we reported John Kane, who is the Democrat’s nominee for the 26th District State Senate race,  was receiving as business manager of Plumber’s Local 690 of Philadelphia and Vicinity.

Here you go.

Kane receives $156,537 in salary for his job as business manager and $119,213 as co-chairman of the union’s vacation fund, as per the IRS 990 form that is required to be filed by the vacation fund.

Vacation fund. He is taking $119,213 for running the vacation fund. Don’t you think this  be part of his already well-compensated job as the union’s business manager?

And if we are reading the 990 correctly he is only working one hour a week at it.

LOL. You still want to contribute to his campaign?

Kane says he will continue taking the money even if he should win the seat, which comes with a $84,012 salary and very nice benefits.

People like Kane are what make the rest of us poor.

Kane is seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Ted Erickson, a decent, honest guy. The Republican nominee is Delaware County Councilman Tom McGarrigle, another decent, honest guy who grew up in Springfield, attended a public vocational high school and runs a well-liked garage.

And for the rank and file of Local 690:  here is a list of the salaries of your leaders, which includes $1,431 in benefits for Kane not mentioned on the 990 form.

Note seven of them are making six figures. Are you really getting your money’s worth? Don’t think it would nice if you could actually withhold your dues rather than having them automatically deducted? You think maybe you might get better representation if you had this ability?


John Kane Compensation Challenge

John Kane Compensation Challenge

American Poor Don’t Exist is claiming   American poor don’t exist and is basing the claim on this study by the Brookings Institution.

That’s right, there is no poor in the United States. The war on poverty is over. We won.

Of course,  Brookings, a liberal-leaning think tank that is called most influential in the world,  doesn’t really say it that way. In fact, it claims that “millions of Americans live on less than $2 a day — a threshold commonly used to measure poverty.”

Forbes, however, rebuts it pointing out income, as officially defined, is a bad metric as it does not account for the various government subsidies provided such as SNAP and Section 8 housing vouchers.

More significantly, it points out that the $2 a day standard when applied to  developing countries is based on consumption, not income.

When this standard is applied to the United States, it is found that consumption is the same for those who report zero income and those who report $20 per day income — which is adjusted to account for the values of the many different currencies.

According to global standards, middle class is between a globally adjusted $12 and $50 per day.

So, yes, there is no poor in America which is something that could easily be determined by driving through the lowest-income neighborhood one can find and counting the dish antennas, window air conditioning units, cars parked on the street, and observing the absence of malnutrition among the residents.

Suffering in the United States is not caused by lack of material things. It is caused by making stupid choices and living in proximity to those who exalt in making such choices.

American Poor Don't Exist

American Poor Don’t Exist

Philly School Salaries Put Online

Kudos to the Philadelphia School System for putting employee salaries online.

The district published the information to promote transparency according to district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

The previous policy was to release the information only in response to  requests.

The project was done with OpenDataPhilly and the information can be found here under SDP Employee Information as a .ZIP file which you will have to download.

Topping the list at $270,000 is Superintendent William Hite. He is followed by Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn at $210,000.

It should be noted that the list does not include benefit information.

Philly School Salaries Put Online

Philly School Salaries Put Online


School Bosses Make Big Bucks

School Bosses Make Big Bucks

Philadelphia School Bosses Make Big Bucks

The always excellent Commonwealth Foundation  published last month the first issue of Commonwealth Commentary, an old-fashioned, dead-tree newsletter.

Featured was an article by Maura Pennington describing how the Philly school bosses make big bucks despite the district being broke and crying for more money.

Ms. Pennington notes that Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite pulls in $270,000 (not counting benefits) and his deputy makes $210,000.

Contrast that to the $175,000 salary pulled down by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Ms. Pennington reports that eight assistant superintendents make $145,000 each and the district’s budget director makes $128,724.

All told, 395 employees — about the size of a typical suburban graduating class — make over $100,000.

Again, not counting benefits.

The real reason that school vouchers and charter schools are opposed by these educational establishment is not because they are ineffective but because they will derail the gravy train.

The cost of a charter school is about 60 percent of that of a public school.

Hat tip Judy and Lynn

School Bosses Make Big Bucks



Govt Workers Nearly Twice Expensive

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported March 12  that employing a state or local government worker is 45 percent more than an equivalent worker in the private sector.

For December, employers in private industry spent an average of $29.63 per employee hour worked, while employers in the government sector — although most don’t comprehend it — spend an average of $42.89 per hour.

Government employees average 33 percent higher but their pension and retirement benefit costs are a mind-numbing 254 percent higher.

Hat tip


Auto Raise Means Pa Legislator Salary $84G

The automatic pay raise for Pennsylvania lawmakers made law in 1995 kicked in Dec.1 which means that the average Pennsylvania legislator salary is now at $84.012. It’s basically a $17 a month raise or about $200 per year. It certainly will help ease the burden of the eventual 28 cents per gallon gas tax they just passed.

Note this does not include their pension or health plans or their per diem which could be as high as $242.

Hat tip Keystone Report