Per Diems, a Bipartisan Money Grab

While people struggle to find work in a difficult economy and many more wonder how to feed their families on a daily basis, today’s Herald has yet another story on the continued money grab by MA politicians in the form of per diems showing just how out of touch Beacon Hill is with the hard working people of MA.…

The story points out that the 30 departing State Representatives will take home more than $91K this year in per diems even though formal sessions ended on July 31 to give the Reps more time to run for re-election while being paid by us.

Quotes abound in the short story, but my personal favorite is from Democratic State Rep Denis Guyer:

“I’ll probably put in for a couple more,” Guyer said. “I’ll be in there to clean up my office next week.”

I am sure that the taxpayers of MA are thrilled to be paying for Rep. Guyer to be coming into Boston to clean up his office.

While their is not much that unifies Democratic and Republican Reps on Beacon Hill, it seems as though per diems is one area where some find common ground.  Unfortunately, its common ground at the expense of the MA taxpayers.

This comment from retiring State Rep Robert Hargraves:

“There will be a hiatus until I collect my retirement. It takes a little bit of the edge off for the next few weeks,” said state Rep. Robert S. Hargraves (R-Groton), who’s pocketed $4,342 in taxpayer-funded travel reimbursements this year on top of his $61,440 salary.

Shame on you Bob for forgetting about the taxpayers of MA at this time of year.

This story raises two areas that the MA House can address early in its next session:

1) Grant audit powers over the state legislature to the State Auditor.  Let’s have someone take a look and see if all these per diems are being properly collected in addition to how all the other Legislative money is spent.

2) Eliminate per diems.  They are an insult to the hard working people of MA who do no get paid to commute yet are asked to pay for their legislators to commute into work, even to clean out their desk.

Once again, we are reminded that legislators all too often live in a different world from the rest of us.

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