Two freshman state representatives from the Pittsburgh area, Matt Smith and Randy Vulakovich, have introduced legislation to cut the budget for the state house by 20 percent.
They got support for their idea from other newer legislators from southwestern Pennsylvania, but long-time legislative observers say such a funding cut will be difficult to actually enact. The money goes for legislators' salaries, their staff salaries, office expenses at the Capitol and in the districts, public service announcements, mailings to constituents and other functions. (Source: "Freshmen seek to cut legislature's budget," by Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2/13)
I don't know the ins and outs of the budget (and no one else does either right now -- maybe after the open records law takes effect) but there may be some wiggle room there. For example, state senators and state legislators have bare bones websites on the state's page, but their more detailed websites are provided by the caucuses, senate Democrats, senate Republicans, house Democrats, and house Republicans. They use templates so all the sites in each caucus look the same. That probably means two or four different tech groups, servers and the like. Maybe they can be consolidated. If public service announcements are produced by the parties there are probably two sets of staff there. Maybe they can be consolidated. Templates are used for newsletters and sometimes the exact same information is found on more than one person's newsletter. Why can't they use just one template instead of different ones for each party?
And then there's all those fancy lunches party leadership puts on the tab. Those could be pared down some, surely.
Not to sound cynical but I kind of doubt this will get out of committee