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COLA increases

Published December 03. 2010 05:00PM

Social Security recipients didn't get a cost-of-living adjustment for two years - including the forthcoming year - in their monthly checks.

But the cost-of-living hike is being included in the pay checks of our state lawmakers.

In Pennsylvania, a law passed in 1995 provides state lawmakers, judges, and other state officials with a cost-of-living increase. This year that increase is 1.7 percent.

Governor elect Tom Corbett and State Representative Jerry Knowles of Tamaqua are two of several lawmakers who say they won't accept the raise. The raise is put in their pay checks automatically, but they state they will return the increase to the state treasury.

Knowles said, "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."

He added, "We have a daunting challenge ahead of us and we need to lead by example."

Hopefully all lawmakers follow suit, but you know that won't be the case.

In fact, lawmakers should try to change the 1995 law so that such an increase is no longer automatic. Or, at least that lawmakers would have a chance to reject the raise - like Congress does.

In Washington, Congress, in April, passed a bill blocking lawmakers from getting their scheduled $1,600 raise for next year.

It will keep members' salaries at $174,000. Congressional pay automatically increases each year unless the body votes to block an increase.

By Ron Gower

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