The Scranton Times-Tribune has new numbers from the National Conference of State Legislatures showing Pa's legislative staff level is the biggest in the nation, bigger than even those in Texas and New York:
HARRISBURG - Even with above-average salaries and benefits, the state's 253 legislators actually account for only a small portion of the total cost of running the General Assembly.
The real expense comes from its support staff, which numbers nearly 3,000, the largest legislative staff in the nation. Its 2,918 employees outnumber the next two largest, New York at 2,751 and Texas with 2,388, even though the latter states have much larger populations.
. . . As with the senators, Senate staffers contribute one percent of their salary to health insurance, which covers medical, dental, vision and prescription costs. House staffers get their medical insurance fully paid, as do their bosses.
They also participate in the state government's defined pension plan, which in their case is calculated on the number of years of employment, the average of the three highest years salary paid with a 2.5 percent multiplier and other prior qualified service. Staffers are vested in their pensions after five years, although they cannot collect on them until age 60.