Monday, July 09, 2007

Legislative Welfare

According to information gathered by Statenet, legislators in California have it pretty good. The 6-figure annual salary is supplemented by a per diem travel and food allowance of $169 when the legislature is in session. Of course, being a legislator in California is a full-time job, and the cost of living is high, so these figures may be regarded as not extravagant, even if they are significantly higher than legislative pay in a typical state.

However, an arguably good pay package becomes unconscionable when considering the examples of two of the state's legislators, Assemblywoman Nell Soll and Senator Edward Vincent, who collected a combined $35,000 in per diem allowances while failing to attend a single legislative session due to illness. Collecting the per diem while staying home while sick is legal under the legislature's policies, and President Pro Tem Don Perata defended the practice.

One can only say that legislators who would collect a per diem travel expense for staying at home are not the sort of folks likely to take a hard line on spending.


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