Cost and Size of General Assembly debated

Brad Bumsted on the Speaker’s Reform Commission hearing on reducing the size of the legislature.

While an NCSL analyst testified to the fact that Pennsylvania has the 2nd most legislative staff, ranked 2nd in total spending on the legislature, and ranked 3rd in the cost of the legislature per capita – $23 per person – she concluded that “Based on several studies, there’s no clear indication that reducing the size of a legislature would reduce costs”.

That is essentially the findings of our study: Potential Effects of Reducing the Size of the General Assembly. While a smaller legislature may have some benefits, reducing the level of professionalization would be more effective, both in terms of cost of the legislature itself, but also toward reducing spending and taxes for pork projects. This includes:

  • Reducing the level of benefits, including bring pension and health care plans for lawmakers in line with the private sector
  • Eliminating other perks for lawmakers
  • Eliminating expense accounts for “public service announcements,” mailers, free calendars, dinners and parties, etc.
  • Limiting the length of sessions (NCSL also provided information on this, though not the focus of the hearing)
  • Term Limits
  • Reducing the number of legislative staff