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Posts tagged: per diem

Rusche: Per Diem Issue Clear As Mud

The 2012 Legislature will likely address lawmakers' per diem expenses, to determine who should receive a $49 payment, or a larger $122 payment, House Minority Leader John Rusche said today. In a blog posted at the Idaho Democratic Party website, the Lewiston lawmaker said, “To be clear up front, I do get a per diem payment of $122 per day during the legislative session to offset the cost of maintaining a second residence. … “I think that the rules are fairy clear — those from over 50 miles away get a higher per diem but it is not income or added into pension amounts. Those from inside 50 miles get the lower ($49) amount, but it is treated, by IRS rules, as income and is taxed. I think commuting costs should be considered covered by the per diem. “What I thought was clear obviously is not. We will be addressing this during the session I am sure”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What should the Idaho Legislature do to fix per diem expenses?

Richert: End Per Diem Payments

On his Idaho Statesman blog this afternoon, opinionator Kevin Richert proposes that the Idaho Legislature shut down per diem payments. Quoth: “The solution, as I now see it, also seems clear. Drop the per diem system. Make lawmakers file expense reports — and reimburse them for legitimate, work-related costs.” Then, Kevin adds: “I can also hear lawmakers — so fiscally conservative when it suits their purpose — arguing that a reimbursement system would simply create a costly bureaucracy. Again, too bad. Yes, the state might have to hire staff to review and approve expenses. But taxpayers are forking over nearly $1 million a year, ostensibly for expenses, but with no oversight. Given that, I’ll bet the bean counters would earn their keep.” More here.

Question: Do you agree with Kevin Richert that Idaho legislators should be forced to submit receipts for actual expenses rather than receive per diem payments?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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