Our governor wants us all to tighten our belts. Great idea.
We start with him, his lieutenant and the secretaries of the Cabinet, then go to those in the top three of the wage scale and through the Legislature. Let us not forget state judges. Every one of these take an immediate 10 percent salary reduction and a 15 percent reduction in expense allowances.
Let us not talk about "changing the rules in the middle of the game." Working folks who are laid off suffer those "rule changes" every day. They, too, thought they had an "agreement."
The outrageous car allowances should be cut in half starting now. Cars can be leased for under $150 a month. If they feel the need for a "more comfortable" car or a "safer" car, pay the difference.
Also, no more junkets -- unless approved by an independent nonpartisan commission. And no family members on the approved junkets. If a participant feels his or her significant other should see Warsaw in the spring, he or she pay for it -- and in advance of the trip.
Living allowances in Harrisburg will be under close scrutiny as we build barracks-style housing for officials. We will provide common office space, Internet phones and the other approved necessities. You are, after all, a public servant and servants do not usually live better than the master, i.e., the taxpayer.
You will have breakfast in the mess hall and travel by bus to your office and you will be in your office at 9 a.m. The first bus back will be at 5:30 p.m.
No family members on the payroll in your local office.
Walking around money ... frozen.
You will be in your Harrisburg office by 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. Forget those coffee meetings at the eastbound Midway plaza and other choice spots around the state. And you will not be at the westbound Midway plaza at 1 p.m. Thursday, as you will be in your office.
You will work a full day. Let's not talk about evening sessions, etc., that make your job so difficult. You knew this when you ran for office.
We will reduce the size of the Legislature. It costs almost a half-billion dollars per year. Pennsylvania has the highest representation per 100,000 residents than any other state. Our costs are higher than any other state by 22 percent. We are not getting 22 percent better government.
We will review pension programs. The idea that anyone would make more retired than while working is ludicrous.
Tough? You bet. If I have to tighten my belt, why shouldn't you?
Next stop ... Corporate welfare ... Stay tuned.
RICHARD P. IEZZI