• Base salaries in July, 2005 for the rank and file – excluding per diems, perks, PSAs, pensions and paid health insurance – was $69,648.
• Lawmakers automatically receive pay increases – or COLA’s – on December 1. The “shared sacrifice” budget of 2011 allows the legislature to keep their COLAs, per diems and “seasonal per diems.”
• Base salaries in 2012 increased by 3% on December 1, 2011 after the annual COLA is $82,026, and does not include the cost for per diems, perks, PSAs, pensions and health insurance. The increase in the salary for rank-and-file lawmakers represents a $2,403 hike from the $79,623 base salry in 2011.
In 2010, the median household income of Pennsylvania families was $49,288, a 3% decline from the 2008 median income of $50,713.
• Two-tier pension system. Benefits covered by a pension system in effect before 1974 utilities a higher “multiplier” to calculate benefits for the pre-1974 class than for lawmakers elected since that year, e.g. former-Rep. Frank Oliver and and Rep. Mark Cohen are qualify for the pre-1974 multiplier.
The pre-1974 tier uses a 7.5 % multiplier of the average salary of the three highest years compared to a 3% multiplier for lawmakers elected after 1974 and uses a 2.5%multiplier for state employees.
• Most retired lawmakers are entitled to lifetime health care for themselves and their spouses.
• The “per diem” – or daily allowance – is an undocumented reimbursement lawmakers receive in addition to their salary for food and lodging.
• If a per diem is taken on a session day or for a committee meeting, taxes are not taken out or paid on the per diem pursuant to IRS rules out.
• If a legislator receives a per diem for a non session day, taxes are taken out.
• The per diem daily rate was $141 in 2006. However, the Caucuses through their unaudited non-lapsing accounts, provide meals to their members during session days.
• The current subsidy rate is $163 and allows legislators to use the money to purchase second homes in Harrisburg.
• The U.S. General Services Administration announced the lodging per diem in Harrisburg will increase from $107 a day to $134 a day for June, July and August. The lodging per diem will revert to $107 in September.” The per diem to cover the cost of meals will stay at $51.
(Seasonal per diem hike kicks in for Harrisburg, by Robert Swift, Shamrock Times, June 16, 2011.)
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