Topic category: Other/General
Pennsylvania by the numbers, Part II
6 The number of days after the Nov. 7 election Gov. Ed Rendell's transportation commission waited to issue a report recommending $1.7 billion in new taxes and fees to repair Pennsylvanias deteriorating roads and bridges and keep its failing mass transit systems afloat.
2 Pennsylvania's current ranking for the highest gasoline tax among the 50 states. Pennsylvania also ranks 2nd among the states in the highest corporate income tax on businesses.
73,614 The number of dollars paid to a freshman Pennsylvania legislator after Dec. 1, 2006, when the 10th consecutive pay raise (they call it a cost-of-living-increase) for these "public servants" kicks in.
24,571 The annual per capita income of a Pennsylvania worker, roughly one-third of what a freshman state legislator makes.
2,451,832 Number of votes Gov. Ed Rendell received in the November election.
1,608,285 Number of votes GOP challenger Lynn Swann received in the November election.
8,182,876 Number of registered voters in Pennsylvania.
5,731,044 Number of registered Pennsylvania voters who did not vote for Gov. Ed Rendell the November election.
76 The current age of Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, who would take over as the state's chief executive should Gov. Rendell pursue national ambitions.
55 The number of Pennsylvania legislators fired by voters or forced into retirement in 2006. Unfortunately, theres still around 200 more legislators who were returned to office.
347,000,000 The cost in millions of dollars that Pennsylvania taxpayers shell out each year to support the largest state legislature in the country, including 253 elected legislators and 3,000 people who work for them.
2,700,000 The number of dollars in millions Pennsylvania taxpayers pay their legislators as a reward for showing up in Harrisburg. It's a racket called "per diem," in which legislators collect $141 each day they show up for work (on top of their $73,614 annual salary and the most lucrative benefits package in the country).
77 The average number of days Pennsylvania lawmakers were in session in each of the past five years. (Legislators typically take the entire months of July, August and December off).
2008 The next year voters will have an opportunity to continue the housecleaning in Harrisburg when 25 state senators and all 203 state representatives run for re-election.
50 The number of state senators in the Pennsylvania legislature. In contrast, California, with a population of 36 million, has 40 state senators in its legislature.
203 The number of state representatives in the Pennsylvania legislature. California, which has four times the population of Pennsylvania, has 80 state representatives. Unlike Pennsylvania, where lawmakers can serve for life, California has term limits for state legislators and they do not receive a taxpayer-funded pension. Pennsylvania lawmakers who stay in office for 20 years earn an average pension of $53,400 a year for life.
8 The number of Republican House seats lost in the Nov. 7 election under the leadership of John Perzel and Sam Smith. Inexplicably, Republicans re-nominated Perzel and Smith to leadership posts for the next two years.
7> The number of newly-elected House Democratic Caucus leaders (out of a total of 7) who supported the July 2005 pay raise.
6 The number of newly-elected House Republican Caucus leaders (out of a total of 8) who supported the July 2005 pay raise.
4 The number of newly-elected Senate Republican Caucus leaders (out of a total of 6) who supported the July 2005 pay raise.
6 The number of newly-elected Senate Democratic Caucus leaders (out of a total of 7) who supported the July 2005 pay raise.
501 The number of school districts in Pennsylvania, each employing a superintendent earning an average of $114,000 a year regardless of experience or the size of the school district.
33,000 The total number of children forced to miss school so far in 2006 by teacher strikes. Pennsylvania ranks No. 1 in the nation in teacher strikes.
0 The amount of money Pennsylvania residents have received in promised tax relief from casinos during Gov. Ed Rendell's his first four years in office.
0 The amount of time the Pennsylvania Legislature spent debating a bill that allows casinos to serve unlimited free drinks to gamblers.
0 The number of programs set up by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to help state residents with gambling addictions since casino gambling was approved on July 4, 2004.
Biography - Tony Phyrillas
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas