State lawmakers get a 3 percent cost-of-living raise -- about $2,400 before taxes -- starting Dec. 1. All of the reached by Patch said they will either donate their raises to charity or refund them to the state treasury.
The lawmakers’ annual pay -- before taxes -- will go from the current $79,623.23 to $82,026.11, according to the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which lists legal and rulemaking information.
Lawmakers in leadership positions -- like state senators (D-18th) and Pat Browne (R-16th) -- already make extra money, and the 3 percent increase also applies to those amounts, according to the Bulletin. The extra amounts, including the 3 percent raise, will range from $11,506 to $46,021.
Browne, as majority whip, will receive -- with the raise figured in -- $27,942.98. Boscola, as minority policy committee chair, will receive $11,506.34, according to the Bulletin. Both figures are in addition to the state senator salary.
The following is a list of area lawmakers and what they plan to do with their raises:
- Rep. Bob Freeman, D-136, will donate his raise to charity. In previous years, Freeman rolled the pay increase back into the state treasury to help offset deficits. With no deficit this year -- and cuts to social service agencies which he says he's unhappy with -- the Easton-based legislator is giving to charity.
- Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th. She is donating to Lehigh Valley charities -- "what she's done every year," said chief of staff Stephen DeFrank. He described why she prefers donating rather than refunding to the state treasury: "When I donate to charities at home, my money stays at home."
- Rep. Joe Emrick, R-137th. As he did last year, he said, he plans to give back his raise to the state. He said he writes a personal check to the state each month.
- Rep. Marcia Hahn, R-138th. She said she will return her raise to the state treasury, as she has done previously.
- Sen. Pat Browne, R-16th. He’s donating his raise to charity, just as he did last year, according to Ellen Kern, his chief of staff.
- Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th. He too prefers donating to charities instead of refunding to the treasury. He said giving it back to the state increases processing costs. He also noted that he recently gave $300 to a group that provided Thanksgiving meals to the needy and brought some items to Toys for Tots.
The Pennsylvania Bulletin, in an item published Nov. 26, explains how the 3 percent raise is calculated: It is based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for the period Nov. 1, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2011. The raise is part of the Public Official Compensation Law (Act 72 of 2005).