State Representative Jerry Knowles of Tamaqua (R-Berks/Schuylkill) released the following statement concerning the automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) Pennsylvania lawmakers and other officials are scheduled to receive on Dec. 1:

"A law which passed in 1995 provides Pennsylvania lawmakers, judges and other state officials with a cost-of-living increase based on the Consumer Price Index. This year, that increase is 1.7 percent.

"For the second year in a row, Pennsylvania's senior citizens will not receive a cost-of-living adjustment in their Social Security checks. Thousands of other Pennsylvanians are struggling to make ends meet or cannot find work at all. Clearly, this is not the time that anyone should be thinking about any type of pay raise. We have a daunting challenge ahead of us and we need to lead by example.

"For those reasons, I will not be accepting the December pay increase, and I plan to speak out against it in Harrisburg. The way the law is written, I cannot refuse the funds, but I will return them to the Treasury each month when I receive my paycheck."