Don’t change the number of representatives, cut salaries

PATRICIA GAMBOL

Blairsville

We are all aware that our state – Pennsylvania – is in a deep financial crisis. In 2017, it’s reported that the state missed over $1 billion in reimbursement payments to Medicaid and $581 million in payments to school districts.

Many hard-working citizens of Pennsylvania and their children are suffering because our state is broke.

Our current legislators talk about cutting 53 seats to save $15 million a year. Don’t change the number of representatives, cut their salaries. The work of representing Pennsylvania citizens’ interests in Harrisburg is a part-time job; it should not be paid a full-time salary and pension. New Hampshire legislators get paid $100 a year. Pennsylvania lawmakers are the highest paid in the nation, receiving between $98,609 to $134,998 a year, depending on their position. Why do Pennsylvania legislators make 1,000 times more than New Hampshire legislators?

Clearly, something is wrong. If we adopted New Hampshire’s state government model, we would save $60 million a year. All voters, Democrats and Republicans, have a rare opportunity in upcoming election cycles to change Pennsylvania’s model of government. We have this opportunity because 24 legislators are retiring. We should challenge every candidate running for these empty seats to voluntarily adopt a New Hampshire Patriot Citizen model of government. New Hampshire legislators are true public servants. Pennsylvania legislators cannot call themselves public servants. In this rare moment, we should demand all candidates to sign a pledge to limit their salaries to $100 a year.

If all of Pennsylvania legislators adopted the “New Hampshire Patriot Citizen Model,” we would save taxpayers one billion dollars in just 17 years.

A 2016 Gallup poll that measured people’s confidence in their state governments clearly found that confidence goes down when lawmakers’ salaries go up.

Citizens’ confidence in Pennsylvania government is near the bottom. It is time to make a change – a change that will benefit all Pennsylvanians.

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