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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: per diem

Per-diem dustup could prompt legislation

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho legislator says he'll introduce a measure in 2012 to prevent Boise-area lawmakers from boosting their state retirements with per diem payments. Rep. Dennis Lake of Blackfoot says it's unfair that local lawmakers can get more-generous pensions compared to out-of-town legislators for identical work. Three weeks ago, The Associated Press reported Canyon County Sens. John McGee and Curt McKenzie banked daily $122 payments for a second residence — even though McGee lived with his parents and McKenzie slept on an office couch. The AP also reported these payments count toward McGee's and McKenzie's pensions because their primary residences are within 50 miles of the Capitol. Meanwhile, Idaho's government payroll system doesn't count per diem toward retirement for lawmakers like Lake whose primary residences are more than 50 miles away.

Per-diem dustup could prompt reforms…

The dustup over legislators' per diem - after the Associated Press reported that two Canyon County senators billed taxpayers $6,400 apiece for a second Boise residence during the session while one slept on his law office couch and the other stayed with his parents - could prompt reforms of the per diem system, AP reporter John Miller reports today. Click below for his full article.

Nampa senator must repay Nampa-Boise mileage, also was paid for spending night in Boise, not driving

AP reporter John Miller reports that state Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa must return more than $2,400 in inappropriate mileage reimbursements for travel from his Nampa home to the state Capitol during the legislative session, when he also was getting reimbursed for maintaining a second residence in Boise during the session, while actually sleeping on the couch at his Boise law office. McKenzie said he was unaware he was also getting the mileage reimbursement, and didn't ask for it; click below for Miller's full report. Before that news came out, McKenzie sent a guest opinion to the Idaho Statesman defending his per diem use; you can read it here at Kevin Richert's blog. It says, in part, “The suggestion that any of us serve in order to get a little extra per diem just doesn’t hold water.”

Senator gets pay for extra residence for session, but sleeps at parents’ for free…

The Associated Press reports that Republican Sen. John McGee lives 26 miles from the Idaho Capitol but takes an extra per diem payment from taxpayers for a second residence that adds up to some $6,000 annually — even though he lives with his parents in their Boise home during the session. Another Republican, Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa, took extra per diem cash during the 2011 Legislature while sleeping on his small law firm's couch.

By taking the money, they're not just boosting their annual pay; they'll likely see higher pension payments when they retire. Click below to read the full story by AP reporter John Miller.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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