Lawmakers Getting More Money
It’s not quite a raise, but state lawmakers will now be getting a little more money. A state board voted today (Thursday) to increase the daily rate lawmakers receive for lodging and travel expenses while they’re in session.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The amount of money lawmakers get for travel expenses – known as Per Diem – is going up by three bucks a day. That means it’s now 173 dollars. The State Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board voted for the hike. However, the board didn’t have much choice. State law says the legislators’ per diem can’t be less than the rate provided to federal employees who travel to Sacramento. And that rate went up to 173 this month. State and Consumer Services Agency Secretary Rosario Marin is on the Board. She said it was unfortunate state law required the rate increase at this time in the economy. Per Diem is often controversial. Earlier this year, Governor Schwarzenegger criticized lawmakers for continuing to take per diem during the budget stalemate. In the Senate alone, lawmakers have been paid close to one-and-a-half million dollars in per diem so far in 2008.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass says she won’t accept the rate increase because of the economic downturn facing the country.