| Central Penn Business Journal
We're No. 2! (A really, really bad thing …)
Just how big is Pennsylvania's government? Maybe the more important question is how big is too big?
The Associated Press recently issued the results of its yearlong study of budget problems facing states across the nation. The work was in collaboration with Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors.
A facet of the study deals with the sheer size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Pennsylvania's legislature ranks second in the nation for size — California's is No. 1, based on a 2009 National Conference of State Legislatures study, which the AP rehashes in its report. That same report puts only Alaska's legislature ahead of the commonwealth's in per capita spending. 1 in every 11 state legislative employees in the nation is a Pennsylvanian, according to the NCLS.
The report shows Pennsylvania House and Senate salaries run $119 million. The House alone has "617 legislative assistants, 363 district office managers or constituent outreach specialists, 95 research analysts, 50 custodians (there are 19 in the Senate), two archivists, an editor, an asset manager and a proofreader," according to the AP report.
Pennsylvania has about 4 percent of the nation's population, but it also has — by a long shot — one of the largest state governments.
Gov. Tom Corbett, in unveiling his $27.3 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, trims the General Assembly's budget by 1.4 percent.
Is it enough? Should we consider fewer personnel, a "part-time" legislature, or some of the streamlining steps Louisiana, Michigan and Virginia have taken?
Christopher Passante is the editor of the Central Penn Business Journal.