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July 30, 2005



With all due respect to Rep. Cohen (I'm sure he's a decent man, with decent intentions), however "underpaid" a member of the PA legislature might be, how much more could it be said of the many other state legislatures that don't make nearly the amount that PA lawmakers currently make (prior to the raise)?

And given the fact that everyday PA residents still enjoy the lowest federally allowable minimum wage in the nation, exactly how much sympathy are we supposed to feel for lawmakers who enjoy incredible pension and medical packages, along with a paltry 69, sorry, 80 thousand a year in base pay. Tell me that the person working two full-time jobs at places like Wal-mart just to keep the electricity on is supposed to feel anything but insulted by Rep. Cohen's comments.

I'm sorry, he may be a great man, but to suggest that simply because the legislature does its job, it automatically deserves to be more highly paid than almost any legislators in the nation (and twice as much as the average Pennsylvanian), is just ridiculous.

I have a friend who spent over ten years as an elected union official before he got voted out of office. When he was in office, he would defend the fact that he made almost a six-figure income (which was double that of the average union member). He seemed to honestly believe he earned it, that what he was doing was so incredibly difficult that it warranted the salary, and the generous car allowance, and the top-notch benefit package and per diem allowance.

He would often tell us (the regular workers) how we just didn't grasp the difficulty of his job.

That changed very quickly when he lost that job, and was forced to go back to work with all the rank-and-file union members. He has spent many breaths ever since apologizing for having his head so far up his ass.

It wasn't that he was a bad person; it was just that he had no grip on the reality most of the rest of us had to live with. He simply lost touch with our everyday concerns, believing that he understood them simply because he spoke with us or dealth with those problems from a third-party perspective.

I remember when my state representative, Matt Wright, was working for a living, and from what I know of him personally, I don't believe he's a bad person no matter how inane his explanation was for supporting the pay hike. I simply believe he lost touch with the everyday reality of most people in his district. Our concerns should have come before his, but they didn't -- the same is true of most Pennsylvania legislators.

That's something that should make them feel shame, but the saddest fact is it doesn't appear to.

(speaking of shame, I apologize for the unplanned tirade -- I meant to say much less)

Sir Oolius

I'm not going to get into all the well-reasoned arguments in the two posts and in the comments to both posts.

I just have a quick question: how much more does a PA legislator make compared to a legislator in a state the size and complexity of PA? A Daily Pennsylvanian Op-Ed this week made comparisons to Nevada, Nebraska, and Montana: they hardly have as many issues to deal with as PA does. The article also compared salaries to Texas, a state known for massive oil-lobby bribery to increase legislator's take-home, so also not something we would like to have here in PA. Does anyone know how much more PA legislators make compared to NY, California, etc.? I know I could probably work to find that out, but I'm lazy, so I'm hoping for a quick answer.


They make more than NY legislators, and slightly less (per legislator) than California.

The pressing point here is that though Calif. lawmakers make slightly more per person, they have far fewer lawmakers in their legislature -- for a state that's much larger and more populous than PA.

Sorry, not to get off track, but I wanted to answer your question.

Rep. Mark B. Cohen

Thank you for the constructive tone of this posting. You are right that my arithmetic on Iraq was way off: assuming that we now have 300 million Americans and the war in Iraq has consumed "only" 180 billion dollars--the lowest estimate I have seen--that comes out to $600 per person. Other estimates, which are likely more accurate, place the figure of war costs closer to $1,500 per person: the $5,840 figure for a family of four would fit into this calculation. The Bush Administration has deliberately made the costs of the war difficult to figure out, to discourage the mobilization of oppostion to it.


I would like to comment on the disappearance of Latoyia Figueroa. I would like to wish Mr. Melvin the best of luck and blessings on finding Latoyia. I hope that everyone continues to have faith and help in this case and hopefully she'll return home safely. I had lots of faith but watching the news everyday and listening to the radio made my faith get a little slim. I only would like suggest this because if it was my daughter I would not know what to do without knowing information on her where abouts. I would like to suggest a pshycic only if we continue not to get no information on Latoyia. I know there are several people out there that don't believe in them or they may feel like I feel and alot of other Christains
we should never know what our future holds. But with my child I will do anything to find out where is shes and is she still alive. So I just hope Mr. Melvin think on it and you never know where a pshycic may lead us hey especially Sylvia Brown.(God bless!)

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