Lawmakers should pick up own checks

Posted: Monday, March 01, 2010

Why are legislators trying to raise the meal reporting limit? Do you remember how cheap the legislators were wiling to sell themselves and the public interest a couple years ago? Nothing has changed.

First, the legislators are being paid about $200 a day to pay for their own lodging and meals. That is about what it would cost if they were traveling. But they are not traveling; they are living in Juneau and most have apartments or live in hotels at reduced rates. Many legislators bank about $3,000 a month, tax-free, not including their salary.

Second, if the disclosure price is raised, lawmakers will be able to "work over" lobbyists and get lobbyists to pay for their booze and meals. Without disclosure, the legislators would stack up the lobbyists like cordwood. Which means not only would the legislators eat better than they would on their own per diem, but also avoid having to pay for their own meals, which means more per diem money they can bank while living high on the hog. What ever happened to the citizen legislator?

Want to hit on a touchy subject? Just ask them why the airline miles should not inure to the state instead of legislators. That is millions every year.

Now if they require lobbyists to disclose what they pay for legislative meals, it will portray them for what they really are. Disclosure is a legislator's worst enemy.

Jerry McCutcheon

Anchorage



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