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King of the per diems

Published February 26. 2011 09:00AM

Dear Editor:

Did the voters speak loud enough in the general election in November 2010 to send a message to Harrisburg?

Remember the big midnight pay raise that happened in our House of Representatives a few years ago and the involvement of our local politicians? The voters were upset and expressed their feelings by going to the polls and voting.

Well here is another incident in Harrisburg that may not make your day. The story was originally reported by ABC 27 News WHTM. Our Pennsylvania senators collected more than $300,000 in per diems in 2010! Republican Dave Argall was tops, followed by Democrat Jay Costa and Republican Robert Robbins. That is right, Dave Argall is king of the per diems in the Pennsylvania Senate. He received $15,800 in per diems in addition to his $78,314.66 salary.

In a bit of political irony, Argall chaired a commission looking for ways to cut government waste but has been frequently criticized for his per diem expenses. He said last year's $15,800 in per diems was actually 15 months worth of expenses because he filed his paper late. "It goes to pay for my small apartment across the street," Argall said. "I told some folks I want to look for an even smaller apartment. I think maybe we can reduce some of the costs."

Let's get real! People are unemployed, cannot pay to heat their homes, cannot pay for medicine, are losing health care benefits, are finding it harder to feed their families, are getting cut on pensions, and are not getting a Social Security cost of living raise. And this man is going to help us by looking for a smaller apartment paid for with our money. Here is a man with a doctorate degree! Congratulations voters. This is what you put in Harrisburg and you think things are going to get better? God bless Pennsylvania!

John H. Schickram


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