Share This Page

True Legislature reform

| Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

What's needed is a representative, independent commission to “reinvent” Pennsylvania's Legislature.

Not only is the General Assembly expensive, it is filled with careerists and is among the most fiscally unfree. Further, its staff is outrageously large and costly.

A Goldwater Institute study ranked states' legislatures by two factors: In “legislative careerism,” Pennsylvania came in sixth, after both New York and California; in “most for fiscal freedom,” Pennsylvania came in 32nd, ahead of New York and California.

A National Conference of State Legislatures review put Pennsylvania among states with the costliest legislatures, along with New York and California; Texas was halfway between states with traditional (cheap) legislatures and us “rich” Pennsylvanians.

Proposals now being seriously considered in Harrisburg would cut the number of state representatives from 203 to 153. Fewer reps sounds wonderful; it would save $8 million, proponents say.

These simple answers will actually add to the costs. After a few years, our legislators will plead: “We fewer state representatives must work harder to represent more people, so our travel, telephone, office costs must rise — perhaps not 25 percent, but something — or we'll not be able to do our job.” And every governor has gone along with cost/pay raises.

What we need now is an objective, independent commission to study this whole intricate mess and recommend real answers.

Peter K. Sour

Sewickley Heights

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.