Pattye Benson

Community Matters

PA cost-of-living increase

State Rep-Elect Warren Kampf Decides to Refuse 1.7% Pay Increase

We have been following the news from Harrisburg that newly elected and returning legislators were scheduled to receive a 1.7% cost-of-living pay raise. This increase was obviously causing a stir by tax-payers . . . many elections were won by candidates based on fiscal conservatism, amid high unemployment numbers and screams to stop the spending. Last week, Auditor General Jack Wagner became vocal on the topic; calling for a moratorium on the scheduled 1.7% cost of living adjustment for public officials.

In a November 24 post on Community Matters, I wrote, “Fiscal responsibility was certainly a hallmark in our recent local election, so wonder what our newly elected State Representative Warren Kampf will decide. Should he keep his 1.7 percent increase? For those Pennsylvania legislators who campaigned on controlling legislative expenses, how can they now accept the pay increase?”

I am pleased to report that State Rep-elect Warren Kampf sent the following email this weekend:

Refusing Annual Legislative COLA

As my first official e-mail to you, I wanted to make you aware that I will return to the state the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) given annually to legislators, the governor, judges and top officials in the executive branch.

In this economy and with the budget deficit Pennsylvania is facing, an increase in pay would be inappropriate. I was elected to help get the Commonwealth’s financial house in order and to accept a COLA my first day on the job would be contrary to my principles of fiscal discipline.

The annual COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index published by the U.S. Department of Labor. This year, it represents a 1.7 percent increase. It is not based on the same economic factors used to determine the Social Security COLA, which remained flat this year.

My first order of business representing the people of the 157th District will not be to accept a raise. Most of the citizens I was elected to serve have not seen a pay increase in several years, and it would not be fair of me to take one.

I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to reform legislative compensation and how business is done in Harrisburg. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, feel free to contact me. I want to hear your thoughts on how to improve Pennsylvania and the issues that personally impact you and our district.

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