State Rep.-elect Tom Houghton (D., Chester) says that he will forgo the 2.8-percent cost of living allowance scheduled for state lawmakers, to help solve the state budget crisis and as a gesture of solidarity with his constituents.
"I made a pledge to go to Harrisburg to secure the future of the Commonwealth and the families living in Chester County," Houghton said in a statement. "With that in mind I don't want my first step to be this cost-of-living increase. This is too challenging a time for too many of our families."
The $2,152 raises, which by law went into effect on Monday, bump the base pay of a state lawmaker to $78,315. With the state projected to face a budget shortfall of as much as $2 billion by next year, legislators are facing political pressure to voluntarily give back the money. Democratic House leaders, for instance, have asked members to do so, and there is talking of introducting legislation to repeal or suspend the raises.