By Ali Carey, Contributing Writer
Some day soon, Rick Perry may be courting Republican voters in Pennsylvania. If so, he’ll probably be the only presidential candidate who has already lined up with PA conservatives on a definitive issue: antipathy toward the state legislature.
Way back in April 2007, the Texas Governor was forthcoming in his criticism of the Harrisburg.
In an interview with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Brad Bumstead, Perry reportedly scoffed at the notion of Texans having a full-time legislature like Pennsylvania’s 253-member General Assembly, which serves 12 million people, where lawmakers are paid $73,000 a year, drive state-paid cars and collect generous pensions.
“Forget about it… There are people who always think ‘Let’s have a full-time legislature.’ I happen to think that’s just asking for trouble. When you have a full-time legislature, they just feel pretty inclined to be doing something. So they are going to dream up new laws, new regulations and new statues — and generally all of those cost money,” Perry said.
Perry touted Texas’ 181-member Legislature which in 2007 was paid $7,200 a year to serve 22 million people, while meeting 140 days every other year.
Perry made these remarks as a special House panel in PA considered a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the General Assembly, the nation’s largest full-time Legislature.
Four years later, talk about reducing the size of the PA legislature remains. According to a recent reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “proposals to trim the size of the PA General Assembly have been floated, and swiftly shot down, for decades. But now there may be some muscle behind that nearly half-century-old idea.” Supporters of the cut, including Governor Corbett and House and Senate leaders say now is the time to cut the largest full time legislature in the nation.