Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tony Phyrillas: Pennsylvania by the numbers

253 --The total number of members in the Pennsylvania Legislature. That includes 203 members of the House and 50 state senators.

120 -- The total number of members in the California Legislature. That includes 120 members of the House and 40 state senators.

341,000,000 -- The number of dollars it costs Pennsylvania taxpayers each year to pay for the largest full-time legislature in the U.S.

77 -- The average number of days the Pennsylvania Legislature was in session each year over the past five years.

72,187 -- The number of dollars in the starting salary of a Pennsylvania legislator.

27 -- The number of state senators who voted in favor of the July 2005 pay raise of 16 percent to 54 percent. Twenty-three voted against it.

119 -- The number of House members who voted for the July 2005 pay raise. A total of 79 House members voted against the pay raise. (Five legislators missed the 2 a.m. vote)

1 -- The number of people who could have stopped the July 2005 pay raise. His name is Gov. Ed Rendell, who could have vetoed the pay raise bill, but instead signed it into law and praised it as good legislation.

17 -- The number of incumbent state legislators voted out of office in the May 2006 primary.

31 -- The number of incumbent state legislators who decided to retire in 2006 rather than face the voters.

141 -- The dollar amount each legislator can collect daily as a per diem payment for just showing up for work. This is on top of salary and other benefits.

26,400,000 -- The dollar amount of campaign contributions for Gov. Ed Rendell.

9,000,000 -- The dollar amount of Rendell campaign contributions that came from Pennsylvania. Makes you wonder why so much out-of-state money ($17.4 million) has poured into Rendell’s war chest and what those contributors expect for their donations.

8,100,000 -- The dollar amount of campaign contributions for GOP governor candidate Lynn Swann. So much for the Republicans being the party of the rich.

1 -- Philadelphia's rank on the list of most violent large cities in the United States, according to a new survey issued by the FBI. (Just to jog your memory, Ed Rendell was District Attorney for two terms and Mayor of Philadelphia for two terms.)

650 -- The amount of taxpayer dollars a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature can use each month to lease a vehicle.

38 -- The number of Pennsylvania counties on the list of the 750 most heavily taxed counties in the United states, according to the Tax Foundation.

74 -- The highest number of votes the Commonwealth Caucus plan received in the House in 2006. It takes 102 votes to pass a bill. Not a single Democrat in the House supported the plan to eliminate property taxes.

0 -- The amount of money Pennsylvania residents have received in property tax cuts during the first four years of Gov. Ed Rendell's tenure.

0 -- The amount of money Pennsylvania residents can expect to receive in the next four years of Gov. Ed Rendell's tenure.

18 -- The number of counties Ed Rendell won in the 2002 race for governor.

49 -- The number of counties Ed Rendell failed to win in the 2002 race for governor.

864,000,000 -- The amount of surplus dollars in the 2006 state budget that Gov. Rendell and the Legislature decided not to return to Pennsylvania taxpayers.

13 -- The number of teacher strikes in Pennsylvania in 2005.

8 -- The total number of teacher strikes in 2005 in all the rest of the states combined.

109 -- The number of Republicans in the 203-member Pennsylvania House. Democrats can take control of the House by a net gain of eight seats.

29 -- The number of Republicans in the 50-member state Senate. (Because only half the senators stand re-election every four years, it's nearly impossible for Democrats to capture a majority in 2006).

1,900,000 -- The number of Pennsylvania residents who receive welfare benefits from the state. That compares to 1,500,000 welfare recipients when Ed Rendell came into office in 2003.

5,700,000,000 -- The amount in dollars that state spending has increased under Gov. Ed Rendell's tenure.

4,742,000,000 -- The amount of dollars that Pennsylvania taxpayers will have to pay by 2015-16 to fund pension plans for retired teachers and politicians. That compares to $693 million in fiscal year 2005-06.

Tony Phyrillas is a columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown. E-mail him at


Anonymous said...

Come on... when comparing campaign funds between Swann and Rendell, 2 things need to be considered.

1) Philly and its surroundings are the richest areas in the state.

2) Who is going to donate money to a campaign that is losing as bad as Swann is? No one, that's who.

Tony Phyrillas said...

I'm not sure what "Anonymous" is trying to say. Typical Rendell cheerleader. The numbers speak for themselves. Ed Rendell has sold out Pennsylvania.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if the lack of comments on this here blog are due to its unpopularity or if Swann just isn't paying you enough to make it more visible.

"Taxylvania," you say? Hmm, let's put Lynn Swann's property tax plan under the microscope for a moment, shall we? And let's, for Republicans sake, use a metaphor that all those Steelers fans can understand to describe it: Swann's plan is nothing more than a playaction fake. He hopes to dip into the general fund to finance his plan. Sounds awfully Bush-like, doesn't it? The whole cutting revenue while letting deficits increase thing? And the best part is that Swann and others will back this plan with little to no consternation whatsoever.

And to suggest that Swann took Rendell to task in the October 5th debate is just plain wrong. Rendell promised to "push" property tax cuts, which he's done. He can't rule by decree and force legislators to see it his way. If you feel that he's failed because of this, you're just naive. But if you do, here's a quote for you: "Well, Lynn, you'll learn that the people of Pennsylvania don't elect you king." I believe Pennsylvania's next governor said that.

Tell both sides of the story Mr.Phyrillas.

Novus Livy said...

I'm wondering if you forgot your medications this morning. Re-elect Rendell? The man who already raised taxes once, and is now saying he wants to raise them again? The man who delivered about $75 worth of property tax relief to about 100,000 Pennsylvanians?
Re-elect Rendell, who signed an illegal and unconstitutional pay raise into law, then defended it? Re-elect Rendell, who has brought the dirty industry of gambling into the state, as if we don't have enough corruption already?

Lynn Swann showed Rendell for what he is, a weak, over-stuffed politician who sold his soul to the gambling industry years ago, and keeps making payments on it now with our money.

Besides, Rendell doesn't want to win, he wants to run with Hillary, another bad decision on his part.

Go take your meds.