The Bucks County Courier Times opined as follows this morning (here)…
To state Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31, for two common-sense proposals: One would require lawmakers to relinquish compensation once the budget deadline passes – and make it irretrievable. Hitting lawmakers in the pocket for not doing their job makes sense and surely would avoid situations like the recent budget battle, when lawmakers went 101 days into the new fiscal year before finally agreeing on a budget. Meanwhile, citizens’ lives were interrupted as various state services went unfunded.
The other proposal would require state House members to contribute 1 percent of their salary toward the generous, taxpayer-funded health benefits they receive. Santarsiero is right that 1 percent isn’t nearly enough – about $800 a year for the average lawmaker – but it’s a start. Consider that folks in the private sector typically contribute between $4,000 and $5,000 a year toward the cost of their employer-provided benefits.
“If we don’t put ourselves in a position to truly understand what most people are going through, we won’t be able to fashion legislation that addresses peoples’ problems,” Santarsiero said. Fellow Bucks County state Rep. John Galloway, D-140, was a co-sponsor of both measures. Thumbs up to him, too.
Also, a challenger to Santarsiero announced his candidacy for the PA-31 seat, and that would be Repug Rob Ciervo, currently serving as Newtown, PA supervisor (here).
Which means that, if nothing else, this contest should be interesting.
You see, Ciervo is a longtime partisan offender in these parts; as noted here, he criticized PA Governor Ed Rendell and U.S. House Rep Patrick Murphy for donating to charity campaign funds they received from convicted felon Norman Hsu (Actually, based on this, I wonder if Ciervo should have tried to run for Murphy’s seat instead of Dean Malik?…see the 4/15 letter).
And as noted here, Ciervo sought a tax increase for preservation of open space in Newtown before he bothered to complete a report on the subject (as was done in Lower Makefield), referring a citizen who asked about it to a report from 1997 (in spite of this, as noted here, Ciervo fancies himself as a “green” Repug – if nothing else, the story is worth reading for the comments, particularly the hilarious one at the end).
Oh, and by the way, did you know that Ciervo was a teabagger also (here)?
Now I’ve had some fun here at Ciervo’s expense, I realize, but I have a serious message for Democrats in Bucks County (and Lower Makefield in particular). We got our butts kicked in the election a few weeks ago, and we all need to do more to make sure that doesn’t happen again (and I don’t absolve myself either). And it’s not so much because the Repugs presented themselves as a better alternative. It’s because their base was more motivated than ours was (typical for the party out of power to rebound in off-year elections, but that’s still no excuse).
You can bet that the Op-Ed page of the Courier Times is going to be flooded with Ciervo’s supporters singing his praises (how much truth will exist in such commentaries is an open question, I know), but we must do all of that and more in support of Steve Santarsiero.
It’s pathetic enough that Simon Campbell will be sitting on the Pennsbury School Board. Let’s not compound that mistake by rewarding one of his pals as well.