Note: This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse. To see all posts in this series, click here.
Just read an article in The Patriot News about our legislators:
Taxpayers pay up to $33,445 a day to feed and house state lawmakers every day that House and Senate members are in Harrisburg waiting to vote on a budget. Lawmakers’ pay stopped on July 1 and will not resume until a budget is enacted. But per-diem checks, paid out of legislative reserve accounts, will continue to be issued.
Just a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania legislators were talking about how they’d have to “tighten up” and “be frugal” with their own personal budgets. With over a million dollars every month in supplemental compensation, I don’t think the legislature knows the meaning of the word “frugal”.
Tomorrow is the one-week mark without a budget. Beginning around July 17th, the spending power of state employees is going to vanish overnight. How will the loss of 70,000 customers affect Giant? Sheetz? Hershey? How about small business owners? What’s going to happen when consumers with otherwise sterling credit begin defaulting on their mortgages, student loans, and car payments?
What happens to businesses, of course, pales in comparison to being told to come to work without a paycheck.
In 2006 we voted out a substantial chunk of our legislature for rushing through a late-night pay raise. The legislators thought we’d forget, but we called their bluff. It’s never too early to start organizing another shakeup.