Bill would withhold pay, per diems for lawmakers until budget is passed

HARRISBURG, April 11 – State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh, has introduced a bill that would keep lawmakers from getting paid if the state budget is not completed by June 30 each year.

"As state legislators, our primary responsibility is passing a balanced state budget in time, so we can pay bills, fund schools and other services, and meet the needs of Pennsylvanians in the new fiscal year," McNeill said. "Many believe the political games and posturing that characterized this year's protracted budget effort were the result of too much focus on the narrow desires of influential special interests rather than the needs of typical Pennsylvanians.”

McNeill said the pay suspension would impact senators and representatives, the governor, lieutenant governor and the governor’s cabinet officers, but would not include staff.

He has worked on this legislation for over year but it has failed to move forward because of a lack of co-sponsors. He is hopeful that with the support of House Democratic leadership, his bill will finally gain some traction.

"We need to fix what is broken in Harrisburg,” McNeill said. “Removing salaries and per diems for state representatives and senators while a budget remains outstanding would help incentivize us to move the budget process forward. It would remind us of who really pays the bills and who we truly work for. I believe that this would lead to more meaningful negotiations and genuine compromise to get a balanced budget done on time."

Under the bill, salaries and per diems would be restored and reimbursed once a budget is passed.

This bill is part of a legislative package introduced by House Democrats to improve transparency in state government and restore the public's confidence that government will be responsive to their needs, not just those of wealthy individuals, corporations and other special interests.