Legislators Refuse COLA Increase

Despite the fact that Pennsylvania faces a projected budget deficit of $5 billion, legislators in Harrisburg will receive their annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), aka pay raise. Based on the rate of inflation in the Philadelphia region, state officials’ salary increased by 1.67% on Dec. 1—raising rank-and-file legislators’ salary in 2011 to $79,626.

In response to the law boosting their salaries, several legislators have decided to give their COLA increases back to the treasury or charity.

Here’s a list that we’ve compiled of those giving away their increases. We’ve also listed the final destination of those COLA increases. We encourage lawmakers and readers to help us fill in the blanks via the comment section or email if they know of any other lawmakers refusing the pay raise.

Some, notably Senator Eichelberger, are critical of lawmakers giving their money to charity, claiming that it works as a campaigning effort, rather than returning the money back to the treasury, and to taxpayers. Regardless of what the recipients do, the increase does count toward their pensions.

Some lawmakers are also proposing an end to the automatic pay increases, including Rep. Eugene Depasquale.