Dear Senator Browne:
On June 16, 2010, Senator Andy Dinniman (D, 19th) and Sen Richard Alloway (R, 33) have introduced legislation to eliminate per diems for State Senators. Per diems have been used as a mechanism for State Senators to increase their annual salary by asking for an unaccounted daily increase currently up to $169.00 for showing up to work.
Between December, 2007 and October, 2009, State Senators paid themselves $774,700.00 in per diems. Later figures are not currently available.. That amount involves 5,560 separate transactions.During that same time, you charged the taxpayers for 155 separate per diem transactions totaling $17,300.00. That is money you charged the Commonwealth on top of your legislator's salary.
The abolition of the per diem system is something that you and I should be able to agree upon so that it will not be an issue in the November election. I hereby request that you disclose to the taxpayers the total amount of per diems that you have received first as a member of the House of Representatives and thereafter as a State Senator. That information ought to be in the public domain. Please facilitate the disclosure.
In addition, I ask on behalf of the taxpayers of the 16th senatorial district that you join with Dinniman & Alloway in mandating the end of the per diem system in the State Senate. I have read reports that there is a handful of State Senators joining with them, but I could not find anything suggesting that you are one of them.
Finally, as a demonstration of your real commitment to saving taxpayers money, I request that you should refuse to participate in the per diem system and not take any further per diems.
If I missed your press release announcing your support for Dinniman-Alloway, my congratulations. As Senator Dinniman said: "I refused to take per diems because I thought they were wrong. I believe one way you can create change is by refusing to participate in what you feel is wrong." Stop the illegal de facto pay raises using per diems. You should not be paid extra for showing up to work.
Fighting for the taxpayers,
Richard J. Orloski
Democratic nominee, 16th senatorial district
Allentown, PA 18104