Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Public Employee Retirement Commission

State Representative-Elect Warren Kampf Revisits His Campaign Promises

Warren Kampf confirmed his campaign platform of fiscal responsibility and promise to honor that commitment to the residents in a recent article in The Phoenix. Previously Kampf had publicly stated that he would not be taking the automatic cost-of-living (COLA) salary increase. However, we are now learning that Kampf plans to continue cost-cutting measures in various other ways. I was pleased to read that Kampf will not be taking the State’s allowed per diem but choosing instead to receive reimbursement for actual expenses. In my opinion, I cannot imagine reimbursing elected officials any other way!

( Last March, I wrote an article, “Pennsylvania Legislators can use Tax-Free Per Diem for Home Purchase . . . What about taxability issue or fraud possibilities?” To read the article, click here )

Kampf also states he will not be taking the state-assigned car and opting instead for actual mileage reimbursement. I am not sure how the cost differs between a state-assigned car vs. actual mileage expenses. On the surface, it would seem that turning in mileage expense would be cheaper but a source in Harrisburg suggested to me that it is actually cheaper for taxpayers if state representatives opt for use of a state car. Just an interesting aside, and I am not sure if the expense can be confirmed one way or the other.

As another form of fiscal responsibility, Kampf announced that he would not be taking the state’s defined-benefit pension plan and will work on the creation of a defined 401K-type plan for legislators and state employees. The state’s pension plan could certainly use reformdid you know that more than half the state’s municipal pension plans are less than 90 percent funded? Calculated as the ratio of assets to liabilities, 644 municipal pension plans are labeled as “distressed” by the state’s Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC). Of those, 26 are less than 50 percent funded and branded as “severely distressed.”

In an effort to lead by example, Kampf is taking his cost-cutting campaign promises to Harrisburg. Elected officials struggle to understand the pain of their constituents (especially in such severe economic times) so I give Kampf credit for his personal cost-cutting decisions.

It is my understanding that Kampf will have a State Representative office in the Malvern Federal bank building in Paoli. With just days remaining before his Harrisburg swearing-in, he most assuredly has hired a chief of staff and other constituent service staff for his Paoli office. The broad scope of the 157 district will require experienced and knowledgeable staff; I am curious about his staff selection. The community will need contact information for constituent services – I will send him an email of inquiry on that subject and provide an update on Community Matters.

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