A small group of state lawmakers is renewing the push to eliminate public officials’ annual cost-of-living adjustments, commonly referred to as COLAs. Every year lawmakers and a variety of other public officials receive a pay raise that’s tied to the consumer price index, but first-term state Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) says it’s time for the General Assembly to lead by example.
“There’s about a $1,700 dollar increase every year for a salary that is above average for the family median and it’s unnecessary,” says Kim, “and I think it would just be a great message – along with savings – to cut it out, build the trust back and save money.”
Rank-and-file lawmakers will earn $83,800 this year.
Kim and 2nd term state Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) are leading the charge this session. So far, seven of 203 House members have signed onto their bill. Only three members signed onto an identical bill last session, which died in the House State Government Committee.
Some lawmaker and Corbett administration officials already donate their COLAs to charity or return them to the commonwealth, but eliminating the annual pay raises would ensure the money stays in the public treasury and prevent it from counting toward officials’ pensions.