Rapp Among First Northwestern PA Lawmakers to Reject Salary Increase and Support Legislative Repeal of Annual COLAs
Due to the struggling national economy and the estimated $2 billion 2009-2010 state budget deficit, State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) announced today that she will return the 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that was automatically added to all state lawmakers’ salaries as of Dec. 1.    
She also announced her support for state Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s (R-Chester/Delaware) legislation that would suspend the automatic COLA and corresponding pension increases that were enacted into state law in 1995.
“Just as I did with my original votes against the 2005 pay raise and for its repeal, and against all four of the governor’s fiscally irresponsible, debt-increasing state budgets since taking office in 2005, I am again basing my decision to return and support the repeal of my automatic COLA on one undeniable factor: the median income of the three counties I represent,” said Rapp.   “As a lawmaker representing some of the most financially depressed areas in all of Pennsylvania, I simply cannot morally, ethically, professionally or constitutionally justify accepting a pay raise and the subsequent pension increase in any way, shape or form.”
Unfortunately, state law does not allow lawmakers to automatically cancel their COLA and the corresponding state pension increase.   Barring a complete and total legislative repeal retroactive to Nov. 30, the only options Rapp has is to accept the salary increase and send a monthly check to the state to reimburse the after-tax increase.  
Rapp reiterated her call to the governor and all PA House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen to immediately re-open and make even more substantial spending reductions to the 2008-09 state budget.
“Even if every state lawmaker actually does return his or her full COLA, the recovered revenue will amount to less than one million dollars and will not even scratch the surface of the estimated $2 billion budget deficit,” said Rapp.  
“Waiting until next June or July to substantially address the actual revenue shortfall makes absolutely no sense if the true objective is to deliver a fiscally-responsible 2009-10 state budget, and most importantly, avoid a massive tax increase. Regardless of how ‘painful’ it is for the governor and the General Assembly to make necessary and long-overdue spending cuts, it will ultimately be far more painful for working Pennsylvania families who do not have luxury of balancing their budgets on clearly anticipated deficit,” concluded Rapp.   
Rep. Kathy Rapp
65th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(814) 723-5203
(717) 787-1367
Contact: Ty McCauslin
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9979