Monday, December 28, 2009

Lentz on Reform

State Rep (and candidate for the 7th congressional district) Bryan Lentz published a guest editorial in the Delaware County Daily Times on Saturday, called "Restoring faith in our politicians." Here is an excerpt:

I have already proposed one simple, common-sense measure designed to minimize corruption by limiting officials to one elected office at a time. This bill challenges the assumed right of career politicians to expand their power despite potential conflicts of interest and the disservice they do to the people. And yet even this bill has been attacked by those who believe any reform is a threat to their power.

We must do more. I strongly support a ban on all gifts from lobbyists and legislation that would make all lobbyist connections with government more open and transparent. Campaign finance reform and harsh fines for violations should be a top legislative priority. We need to modernize our outdated state laws and stop well-financed special interests from trying to purchase influence with free dinners and endless corporate money.

We must also fix the legislative salary system — legislators should not control their own salaries or give themselves pay raises at the taxpayers’ expense. I have never voted for a pay raise for myself, and I regularly donate my cost of living increase to charity. That this broken system has continued despite widespread public condemnation of the practice is indicative of how disconnected the old crony-style politicians are from the people.

I have also proposed a 20 percent cut of the state Legislature’s oversized budget — nearly $300 million — for its own operations. That is close to $60 million in savings to the taxpayer by simply shrinking the size of the Legislature and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in the system. We have to face tough choices. In a time when hard-working families are being asked to tighten their belts, it is only right that the government should consider these types common-sense reforms.

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