State legislatures: How small is too small?
The Pennsylvania House approved a bill Wednesday to reduce the size of the legislature, cutting 50 House seats and 12 Senate seats. The measure goes next to the Senate. Do you agree that state government is too big? What’s the right size?
The Pennsylvania House approved a bill Wednesday to reduce the size of the legislature, cutting 50 House seats and 12 Senate seats. The measure goes next to the Senate.
Is this a step in the right direction?Tell us in the comments below.
If the senate passes the bill, a proposed constitutional amendment, it would still be years before the shrinkage would occur. It must be clear the General Assembly in two consecutive two-year sessions, and then it must pass a voter referendum.
By 2002 population statistics cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania ranks 7th among all states for the number of constituents per Senate seat and 14th for the number of constituents per House seat. The reduction in size would obviously increase those ratios with more people represented by relatively fewer legislators.
The table below compares Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. It’s little surprise that a state the size of Delaware has one of the smallest ratios of constituents to lawmakers. Is this closer to the ideal, or does Delaware have too many legislators, too?
In the ratio of citizens to legislators, how small is too small? Where is the “Goldilocks zone” for size of government?
WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.