Lawmaker Leaving With $120K Pension

Lawmaker Leaving With $120K Pension

By Leo Knepper

Heading into the election season, 14 Pennsylvania lawmakers, so far, have announced that they will be retiring at the end of their term in December. It is worth noting that for one of them, their annual pension payment will exceed their current salary by roughly $30,000.

Lawmaker Leaving With $120K Pension
Fat and happy politics doth make

By our calculations, Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone will be walking out the door with an annual pension payment of roughly $120,000. In addition to this golden parachute, he will also receive lifetime health insurance benefits “generously” subsidized by taxpayers. With only limited exceptions, private-sector employees are offered a defined-contribution retirement plan, such as a 401(k). On average, they can expect to retire with a nest egg that provides them with 50 to 75 percent of their final salary. 

Why do Harrisburg’s politicians remain such a costly anomaly? Because they determine their own salary and benefits. In the Pension Grab of 2001, Caltagirone voted to increase his pension by 50 percent. This pension increase, signed into law by Governor Ridge, is one of the primary reasons the Commonwealth’s pension system is in dire financial condition. (For a list of all of the lawmakers who voted for the pension hike, see this blog post on our website.)

Rep. Caltagirone is the only member of the Golden Parachute Club, i.e., lawmakers whose pensions will equal or exceed their current salary, to announce his retirement so far this year. Getting to the Golden Parachute level requires lawmakers to “serve” in the legislature for 35 years or more and be enrolled in the pre-2017 pension program.

According to our research, the other members of the Golden Parachute Club are Representatives Bob Freeman (D-Bethlehem) and Tony DeLuca (D-Pittsburgh). Senator David Argall (R-Lake Hauto) will be joining the Club in November of 2020, provided he remains in office, and there are all indications that he will be sticking around.

There is no limit to how large the legislators’ defined-benefit pension can grow, so long as they stay in office. The Golden Parachute is the most corrupting influence on members of the General Assembly. It makes them prioritize their re-election above everything else, even the well-being of their constituents and the financial health of the Commonwealth

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Lawmaker Leaving With $120K Pension

4 thoughts on “Lawmaker Leaving With $120K Pension”

  1. I would say only in America, but that may not be quite right. Only in Pennsylvania. Someone in the military, with all those burdens and possible danger –combat and just the usual things–does 30 years and gets 75 percent. These abusers of the taxpayers set up their own rules for themselves and get this and for a “part-time job.” Disgraceful.

    1. You know, I never wish anything bad toward anyone, except Pa. State Elected lawmakers. They are the lowest form of life on earth. As far as I’m concerned they are the most corrupt in the country and if they were in a Joint Session at the Capital, I wouldn”t care if the building collapsed during their meeting.

  2. Caltagirone and Robert Mellow are 2 of the lowest SLUGS in Pa. How many corrupt state lawmakers did it take to get these 2 lowest forms of life their pension?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: