(Harrisburg, Pa November 9, 2009) – Lawmakers, the Governor and his cabinet, and all judges are set to receive an automatic, annual cost of living adjustment (“COLA”). Lawmakers get the COLA on December 1. The Executive and Judiciary branches receive a COLA on January 1. The COLA is the percentage increase in the cost of living in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The cost of living adjustment is computed by the U.S. Census Bureau using a 12-month period from November 1 to October 31.
Eric Epstein, Coordinator of the RockTheCapital.org said: “Act 51 needs to be abolished, or at a minimum, COLAs should be announced one week prior to the general election so voters can decide if a pay raise is warranted.” Epstein added, “State government is a publicly held corporation with by-laws that specifically exclude COLAS (Article III, Section VIII). If lawmakers want a bonus plan than they need to submit a proposal to taxpayers for ratification.”
Between 2005-2008 legislators, the executive branch, and the judiciary received an 11.84% aggregate COLA.
• 2005: Legislator’s base salary returned to $69,647 – down from $81,050 – after the pay raise was repealed. The 3.6% COLA raised base salaries to $72,187.
• 2006: House and Senate officials certified a 1.98% increase that increased lawmakers’ base pay from $72,187 to $73,614.
• 2007: The cost of living adjustment for legislators, judges, and the governor was 3.46% or a $2,549.69 raise for rank and file legislators. The average base salary was increased to $76,163.69.
• 2008: The 2.8% COLA created the following pay scale:
Rank-and-file lawmakers: $78,300
Magisterial district judges: $81,000
Speaker Keith McCall: $122,000
Lieutenant governor Joe Scarnatti: $147,000
County judges: $162,000
Gov. Ed Rendell: $175,000
Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille: $192,000
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