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Editorial: 'Superfluous ... time-warped' Legislature

Earlier this week, the grand jury investigating the Bonusgate scandal made some radical recommendations for reforming state government. In today's Daily News, the editorial quotes some of the more explosive findings in the report.

For example, the grand jury says that far too many people work in the legislature and says lawmakers should reduce staff.

"There are 2805 staff people employed by the General Assembly that equates to on average, more than nine support staff individuals for each state rep, and 17 for each state senator. A consensus among those who have worked inside the legislature is that the number of employees could be significantly cut with no measurable decrease in the ability of members to perform duties."

The report -- which was written by a group of ordinary citizens -- also calls on lawmakers to make the legislature part-time, eliminate per diems, and conduct an independent audit of all legislative expenditures.

As the editorial notes, this is a pretty compelling list of recommendations from a grand jury that has been looking into Harrisburg corruption for more than two years. Could it mean that big changes are on the way? The grand jury itself isn't particularly hopeful.

"One of our largest concerns related to this Report is that the General Assembly will . . . meddle with, obfuscate, ignore or kill every recommendation noted in this report. Moreover [we] have determined that the General Assembly, if left to its own devices, is utterly incapable of reforming itself."

That observation turned out to be pretty politically astute. Already, top lawmakers from both parties have basically rejected the recommendations of the grand jury. They say the legislature has already undertaken significant reform.

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