Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tony Phyrillas: Activists in Harrisburg: Remember the Pay Raise

They're back!!!!!!!!

The Pennsylvania Legislature is back in session after a two-month summer vacation. A coalition of citizen activist groups greeted the well-rested politicians with a rally/press conference in Harrisburg on the one-year anniversary of the rally organized by the very same activists to mark the one-year anniversay of the infamous July 2005 midnight raid on the state treasury.

A lot has happened in the past two years, but it all comes down to what Pennsylvania voters do on Nov. 7. That's when Gov. Ed Rendell (who signed the pay raise into law) and all 203 members of the Pennsylvania House and 25 state Senators will be on the ballot.

If there was ever a time to take back this state from the greedy career politicians, this is it. Below is a release distributed today by Tim Potts of Democracy Rising PA. Also of note is the link to a 49-page report prepared by RockTheCapital.org detailing the sorry mess that began with the payjacking of 2005.

Please print out the report and found out where your legislator stands. Some of these politicians are still refusing to return the money even through the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that "unvouchered expenses" are unconstitutional.

(As you all know by now, the members of the Supreme Court decided to keep their portion of the pay raise even though the court ruled that the process of handing out the pay raises was illegal. It's good to be a judge in Pennsylvania and to be able to rule on your own pay raise. We'll remember the judges in the 2007 and 2009 retention elections.)

It's time for voters to exact their revenge on Rendell and the Larcenous Legislators.

Democracy Rising PA News

September 26, 2006 tim@democracyrisingpa.com 717-243-8570


One year ago today, more than 1,000 citizens, standing in a gentle rain, presented their state officials with more than 130,000 signatures on petitions demanding the repeal of the pay raise.

Organized by Rock the Capital, the Rally for Repeal was a signal event in the long battle to restore integrity to Pennsylvania government, a battle that continues today. The signal to lawmakers was clear: repeal, repay, reform or resign.

One year later, the pay raise has been repealed, and 32 lawmakers have resigned while voters removed another 17 from office in the May primary election. But as Rock the Capital documents today, many lawmakers are keeping the unvouchered expenses that even our Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.

To see whether your lawmakers are among the unrepentant, go to http://www.democracyrisingpa.com/bulletins/Pay%20Raise%20Voters.

Participating in today’s news conference were

· Eric Epstein, Rock the Capital

· Matthew Brouillette, The Commonwealth Foundation

· Gene Stilp, citizen activist

· Barry Kauffman, Common Cause/PA

· Andrea Stalnecker, PA Clean Sweep

· Chris Lilik, Young Conservatives of PA

· Richard Schirato, PA Citizens for Legislator Accountability

Attached are two other documents. One is the statement by Democracy Rising PA Co-founder Tim Potts at today’s news conference. The other is Democracy Rising PA’s side-by-side comparison of the Roadmap to Reform with proposals by lawmakers during the past year.

The full Roadmap to Reform and its sponsoring organizations are at http://www.democracyrisingpa.com/dr_fans/dr_news/20060526_roadmap.asp.

Tim Potts, Co-Founder
Democracy Rising PA
P.O. Box 618, Carlisle, PA 17013

Tony Phyrillas is a columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa. E-mail him at tphyrillas@pottsmerc.com