2009-03-05 / Local & State

Taxpayers Buy Lawmakers 220 Bibles, Holy Books

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - If something good isn't coming out of the Pennsylvania Legislature it isn't for lack of Bibles. A newspaper reports that despite financial shortfalls, the General Assembly bought 220 Bibles and other holy books including Torahs and Qurans for legislators taking the oath of office last month.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Thursday that taxpayers footed the bill, about $13,700.

The state House chief clerk and Senate secretary say a tradition of giving incoming legislators a personalized holy book dates back for decades.

State Rep. Dan Frankel says he has received six copies of the Torah since first being elected in 1998. The Pittsburgh Democrat points out that the cost is trivial compared with state spending of more than $28 billion.

But Frankel says when everybody is trying to conserve, perhaps lawmakers should be asked to bring their own scripture.

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