Thursday, February 20, 2014

Last year Maryland spent $1.4 million on housing allowances for legislators. No receipts required for meal reimbursement!

...[Senator Allan] Kittleman, R-Howard, is wrapping up what will be his final year in the state Senate and as a parting gift, he’s sponsoring a bill that would end the per diem subsidy for hotel rooms for about two-thirds of state lawmakers.
Senate bill 421 would end the $101 per day subsidy for hotel rooms for any legislator who lives within 50 miles of Annapolis... 
“This demonstrates to constituents that we understand what they’re going through and that we don’t look at ourselves as more important,” Kittleman said. “This is the fiscally responsible thing to do.”
Currently, members of the General Assembly are entitled to a housing per diem which is set by the General Assembly Compensation Commission per IRS guidelines.

Last year the state spent $1.4 million on housing allowances for legislators. Of that, $816,000 went to 105 legislators who live within the 50 mile limit proposed by Kittleman’s law. Another 19 who live within the limit claimed no housing per diems last year, according to the Department of Legislative Services.
Legislators also receive $42 per day for meals and are not required to submit receipts for that reimbursement—about $432,700 last year. Lawmakers were also reimbursed $182,500 for mileage expenses...
...Lawmakers get that per diem for the entire 90 days even though they are really only in Annapolis Monday night through Friday afternoon. Kittleman said many who avail themselves of hotels rent the rooms for the entire 90 days even though they are not using the rooms on weekends.
“Even if they checked out on weekends, the state could save $30,000 every weekend,” Kittleman said...

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