HARRISBURG--State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, wants to limit how much outside income a legislator can earn.
He has introduced a bill to restrict House and Senate members from earning more than 35 percent of their base state salary as outside income.
Rank-and-file legislators now make $78,315 a year, with a cost-of-living-adjustment that took effect Dec. 1. A number of legislators have, however, sent their COLA increase back to the state treasury or donated it to charity.
Legislative leaders can earn from $89,000 to $122,000. A number of legislators have outside jobs. Some of them are lawyers back home. Some work for law firms that have lobbying divisions, which urge lawmakers to vote certain ways on important issue. But the lawyer/legislators insist they have never personally lobbied their House or Senate colleagues on issues.
Some citizens wonder why a legislator would need an outside income when their taxpayer-provided salaries are far more than most Pennsylvanians earn.
"My bill would limit members from working in positions outside the Legislature,'' Mr. DeLuca said. "In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are paid a full-time salary for full-time work."
One of the reasons to limit outside income, he said, "is because outside jobs tend to create a conflict of interest. Our main job as elected officials is to serve the public...not private legal, business or other concerns."
He has been down this road before, however, and didn't get support from his colleagues. He said the limit on outside income he is proposing is the same as for members of Congress.