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Are you getting a pay raise in 2013?

It’s the end of the year, which means companies are looking at revenues and determining whether their employees will get a raise for 2013.  Because of the economy, it seems safe to say that most people in the private sector will not be getting an increase.  Businesses just can’t afford it.  But if you are a state legislator, work for the governor, or are a judge, life is good.

Are you getting a pay raise in 2013?  State legislators voted themselves one.

Are you getting a pay raise in 2013? State legislators voted themselves one.

Based on a law passed over ten years ago, every one of these state employees is getting a 2.2% raise in 2013.  At a time when everyone is struggling, government employees are going to get more.  And its over the rate of inflation built into Social Security to boot.

The law, which will raise salaries automatically on December 1st of this year, is tied to the Consumer Price Index for the Mid-Atlantic region.  Magically, only once in the last 16 years has this connection to that index resulted in no pay increase; and it never results in a decrease.  Perhaps the most offensive part of this law is that there is no political accountability.  Because it was passed so long ago, present legislators don’t have to do a thing and can play dumb if and when confronted with it.

To be fair, Governor Corbett and some legislators have refused to accept the increase.  Others have elected to take it and donate it to charity.  Here’s the problem though.  At a time when everyone agrees spending is out of control and we are headed for disaster in a fiscal sense, why is the pay to state employees still on auto-pilot?  Why was this not raised a long time ago and addressed in the open for the entire electorate to see?  The answer is easy to figure if you are willing to see it:  they chose to keep their heads down, take their shot, and hope no one noticed.

Every aspect of the budget should be on the table.  The insensitivity this law shows to those who cannot even find work is flabbergasting.  Many honest people who want work can’t find it.  Yet, here is a group of people that can only generate revenue by taking from others in the form of taxes voting themselves a raise they have done nothing to deserve.  If anything, most politicians these days deserve to have their pay cut since they are largely responsible for the looming fiscal cliff.

It wasn’t that long ago that pay raises were a huge issue in this state .  Yet, here is the legislature back at the trough again.  I can’t figure out if its more astonishing that those in government have the audacity to do stuff like this or that people continue to elect the people that have that very audacity.

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About Josh Quinter

I am a politcally active private practice attorney in Suburban Philadelphia.

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