Democrats withold member paychecks

    Pennsylvania House Democrats are defending their decision to cut paychecks for members before state employees received their July salaries.

    Pennsylvania House Democrats are defending their decision to cut paychecks for members before state employees received their July salaries.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090806sdpayday.mp3]

    The House passed Senate Bill 850 on Tuesday. The same day, Democrats were paid out of a special reserve fund. Caucus spokesman Brett Marcy says that’s the timeline lawmakers from both parties agreed to when the budget impasse began.

    Marcy: We agreed and decided collectively, all four caucuses, that it was not right for our members to collect paychecks while state workers were not collecting theirs. We made the decision back then that once we pass a budget that gets state workers paid, then members would also get paid. And that’s exactly what happened this week.

    But Senate Republican and Democratic leaders aren’t going to pay members until state employees receive paychecks, and the top House Republican, Minority Leader Sam Smith, says he was surprised by the Democrats’ decision. Smith says he’s not sure when House Republicans will be paid, and called the Democrats’ timing a “stupid choice,” saying it’s insensitive to employees who worked without pay.

    Governor Rendell vetoed funding for the legislature, so all four caucuses are operating on reserve funding they’ve stored away.

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