Rap Sheet on Rick Geist

Taxes
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Voted for a $400 Million dollars gas and car tax increase on citizens and businesses when the government was running a surplus (1997 HB 67) Voted for $2.4 Billion dollar job crushing tax increases on small business (2002 HB 1848 ) Voted for over $470 million dollars in tax increases on businesses and consumers that further hurt our economy (HB1531)

Spending & Debt

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In the 32 years Rick Geist has been in Harrisburg, state government has more than quadrupled in size with Geist voting for big government at almost every turn. (PA House General Fund Budgets from 1979 - 2012) Geist even voted for many of Rendell’s big spending budgets (HB1589, HB2579, HB815, SB 1389) Geist voted for nearly all of Rendell’s massive debt schemes that saddled taxpayers with over 2$ Billion in new debt. (HB 2291, HB 2231, SB798, HB1802, HB2) Including millions of dollars in debt to fund soccer stadiums for professional Philadelphia sports teams. (HB 1589)

Failed Rendell Stimulus Schemes Geist voted for over $1 Billion dollars in liberal Governor Ed Rendell’s failed corporate welfare stimulus schemes that did nothing but hurt our economy and pile on more Debt. While Ed Rendell’s wealthy Philadelphia friends received our tax dollars, taxpayers were handed the bill. (SB 870) (HB 500) (SB 1026) (SB 10)

Pay raises and Per Diems- Geist never misses a chance to pick he taxpayers pocket for his own financial gains.

Voted for the 1995 pay raise that jacked up his salary 18% and gave him an automatic pay raise every year thereafter without HAVING TO ever vote on it (1995 SB1074)
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Not satisfied, Geist then voted for the 2005 illegal midnight pay raise which jacked up his pay another 28 % (HB1521) Geist is still one of the few legislators never returned the illegal 2005 pay raise to the Pennsylvania Treasury. (PA House Clerk’s office)

In addition to Rick Geist’s $80,000 a year salary, Geist has collected an average of $25,000 a year the past 3 years in per diems. (PA House Clerks Records)

Pension Increase and Pension Bomb

Rick Geist voted to raise his own taxpayer-funded pension by 50% raising leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for his expensive $100,000 pension when he retires. (HB 262001) The pension increase Geist and his cronies gave themselves in 2001 was so excessive that, according to the non-partisan Commonwealth Foundation, the State Employee Retirement Fund will face severe financial distress by the year 2012, sticking taxpayers with an expensive bailout of retired government workers and legislators such as Rick Geist. (www.commonwealthfoundation.org) Not only did Geist raise his own pension and that of government employees but Rick Geist voted to add another $27 billion in unfunded pension liabilities on the backs of taxpayers and future generations to come. So, for years to come and long into the future, taxpayers will face higher property and state tax bills in order to pay for the pension disaster created by legislators. And when Rick Geist retires, our taxes will have to be raised in order to pay for his Cadillac pension. (HB 2497, www.commonwealthfoundation.org)

Rick Geist State Representative Serving Himself at the People's Expense by Dave Barger, posted Feb 16 2012 9:04AM While people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have suffered through a recession that started in 2008 the state legislature has continued to enjoy pay increases, more benefits and a pension that most people can only dream about. Local state representative Rick Geist Representing the 79th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has voted for almost every bill that increased his pay and benefits while many people in the 79th District have difficulty paying for the basics such as groceries, heat, light and medicines.

Yearly Pay Raises In 1995 Geist voted for Act 51 which provides legislators, judges and the governor with a no questions asked cost of living adjustment (COLA). As a result each year legislators have seen their pay increase and the increases are compounded. Geist voted for this automatic increase even though the Pennsylvania Constitution Article III, Section 8 clearly states: The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for

service upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term. A New and Different Pay Raise Geist and other legislators were at it again in the early morning hours of July 7, 2005. They voted for a further increase in pay for lawmakers, judges, and top executive-branch officials. That vote took place at 2 a.m. without public review or commentary and without debate. Governor Ed Rendell immediately signed the bill into law. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review called the vote “a public shafting.” [1] The paper continued, “Never mind that the average resident of this commonwealth makes just over $37,000 a year; legislators voted themselves an $11,000-a-year pay raise, or 16 percent. Their base pay would rise from $69,647 annually to $81,050 a year.” [2] Committee chairmen, which Geist is one, would see their pay increased by 28 percent to $89,155. Forget that the Pennsylvania Constitution dictates that such raises can't take effect until the next Legislature is seated. Geist and other legislators ignored the constitution. Once enacted Geist and others ran to the paymaster window and to take their raise immediately using an “unvouchered expense.”

Second paycheck

In addition to their pay legislators receive “per diems,” an allowance for daily expenses that legislators including Geist voted to give themselves. Their current per diem rate is $163. The per diems are paid without receipts, without documentation. The legislator claims and receives the per diem which amounts to a second pay check. In each of the last three years Geist has claimed approximately $25,000 in per diems.

Pensions When the average working person retires he is fortunate if he gets a pension that reflects a small amount of the pay he received while working. In 2001 Geist was one of the legislators who introduced and voted in favor of HB26. The bill increases his and other legislator’s pensions by 50 percent and that of state workers by 25 percent. “This generosity and an unwillingness to pay for it, has left the state pension underfunded by between $13.7 billion and $114 billion depending on who you ask.” [3]

“Pennsylvania taxpayers will be hit with higher taxes to help fund two state pension systems. Pennsylvania’s statewide pension plans for public school employees, state workers, legislators, judges and other government employees —the Public School Employee Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employee Retirement System (SERS)— will require significantly higher taxpayer contributions in the 2012‐13 fiscal year and beyond.” [4] Total Average Homeowner/Household Increase Cumulative property and state taxes, 2009‐10 to 2012‐13 projected at $1,360. [5]

Geist was elected to serve the people. But it appears he has served himself to taxpayer now and well into the future. It’s time to defeat him and other legislators of his ilk. We need to replace him with people who will follow the constitution and will work for the electorate.

[1] Pittsburgh Tribune Review July 8, 2005 http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_351105.html

[2] Ibid

[3] Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania January 30, 2012 http://empowerpa.org/PensionVotes.php [4] Prepared by the Commonwealth Foundation, www.CommonwealthFoundation.org (November 2009) http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/doclib/20091123_PSERSSERSIncrease.pdf [5] Ibid