STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators
Bob Stone
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

New Hampshire has the following legislator compensation plan:

1. $200 a year.

2. Mileage compensation ends at 45 days. After that, you are on your own.

Maine should adopt that plan. It has about as much chance of passing as I have being selected as a jockey in next year's Belmont Stakes.

Mike Lange
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Yawn. Slow news week, eh? This story has been published at least a half-dozen times. And we're supposed to get all fired up about legislator's compensation and ignore the millions pissed away on a computer system that doesn't work and funds misplace in the DHHS? Get real.

democrat
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

This has been going on for many, many years. Legislators will often rent a room or house together, and pocket the difference in the lodging allowance. Local motels have special legislative rates, so it's a way to make a little extra. That said, I'm amazed that people can afford to serve, unless they're retired, wealthy, have very flexible work hours, or are Nancy Sullivan.

red1
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

And as I've said, they should have thought of this before running for office.

Brian Golden
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

"And we're supposed to get all fired up about legislator's compensation and ignore the millions pissed away on a computer system that doesn't work and funds misplace in the DHHS? Get real."

I believe the DHHS debacle has been reported on many times as well. I think we should be upset about both issues. Why should someone get compensated for items that they never spent money on. If I work out of town my company would not reimburse me for expenses without a receipt. That's how most companies operate.

Anonymous
STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote]MIKE LANGE: Yawn. Slow news week, eh? This story has been published at least a half-dozen times. [/quote]

I did a search, have you seen it here on AMG?

J. McKane
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="red1"]And as I've said, they should have thought of this before running for office.[/quote]

Here we go again.

red1
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="J. McKane"][quote="red1"]And as I've said, they should have thought of this before running for office.[/quote]

Here we go again.[/quote]

Exactly.

Bob Stone
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

I'm not getting excited about it. But what NH is doing is working well. Never happen here.

Mike Lange
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote]I did a search, have you seen it here on AMG?[/quote]

Probably not. But I've been following Maine politics regularly for the past 25 years and this is not the first time it's been brought up. I'm just pointing out that it's chump change compared to the amount of money lost, misplaced or misappropriated by the state.

Maybe the MST should start examining some of the 2,300 bills being introduced this year instead. Some of those, if passed, can cost us some real money.

Naran
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Democrat - I wonder if there are any legislators besides Nancy Sullivan being paid twice to drive back and forth to Augusta. For those who don't know, Senator Sullivan is a Saco district school teacher, who draws her full teaching salary (minus substitute pay), even when she's not in the classroom.

Special, huh?

From the article above:[quote]
But even on days when Eder got a ride, he was collecting a $38 mileage allowance. Last year alone, he received more than $2,200 for at least 54 daily trips from Portland to Augusta.[/quote]

Okay - now multiply that by how many legislators and senators?

If we took an average of $2500 per year, per 186 legislators/senators, that's $465K. Not exactly chump change.

Bob Stone
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

I understand that Mike Michaud used to room with John Martin. Now there was a power couple. :shock:

Naran
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote][b]Mainers' pay level tough to pin down[/b]

By KEVIN WACK, Staff Writer Maine Sunday Telegram Sunday, February 4, 2007

Maine's part-time Legislature ranks toward the bottom of the 50 states in lawmaker pay, even after counting allowances for food, mileage and housing. But because many states pay their legislators in Byzantine ways, it's hard to say precisely how Maine stacks up.

[url=http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/state/070204travel.html]Source[/u...

Reader comment:
[quote]Tim of Weld, ME
Feb 4, 2007 9:54 AM

Considering what they've done to us, I'd say we overpay them. [/quote]
:lol:

red1
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Just to be very clear, I never said the legislators are over paid. I said that once one is elected, don't complain about the compensation. So yes, here we go again Rep. Mckane. And I won't comment on it on this forum again. There is a State of Maine web site to express my opinions to you with.

Dan Billings
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

The compensation system for legislators should be more transparent and easy to understand.

Why do we pay mileage for commuting to work?

Naran
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Exactly - none of us who do normal commuting as private sector workers get compensated, nor can we deduct it on our taxes.

Peter
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

One former Rep told me that after people get elected they soon become ethically corrupt.

J. McKane
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="red1"]Just to be very clear, I never said the legislators are over paid. I said that once one is elected, don't complain about the compensation. So yes, here we go again Rep. Mckane. And I won't comment on it on this forum again. There is a State of Maine web site to express my opinions to you with.[/quote]

And just to be clear, my point was that the relatively low compensation keeps average working people from running and keeps double dippers, independently wealthy, supported by another, retired, and attorneys, in control. JMHO.

Now where's that laptop?? :twisted:

Melvin Udall
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

I like this quote in juxtaposition with the LD 203 student voting issue:

[quote]But the current system also has its defenders, including Senate President Beth Edmonds, incoming chair of the Legislative Council, a group of legislative leaders who are responsible for the Capitol's administration. The 10-member council is ultimately responsible for interpreting state law regarding legislative pay.
"It is in the statute, in the law, that legislators get paid a travel allowance," said Edmonds, D-Freeport. "So from my point of view, how people choose to use that travel allowance is up to them."[/quote]

Edmonds non-chalantly casts aside any thoughts that there may be abuse, and stands on the law as making things OK.

But somehow, she can't seem to feel the same loyalty to a CONSTITUTIONAL provision saying students can't vote just because they're here in a college.

This is what you call "pragmatism." Or optional constructionism. Or pick and choose ethics.

J. McKane
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="Peter"]One former Rep told me that after people get elected they soon become ethically corrupt.[/quote]

Gross overstatement.

Deb
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="Bob Stone"]I understand that Mike Michaud used to room with John Martin. Now there was a power couple. :shock:[/quote]
Actually they owned property together in Augusta along with someone else.

Bob Stone
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Who else? Ken Allen?

Deb
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="Bob Stone"]Who else? Ken Allen?[/quote]
??? Don't know who.

Taxpayer
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

There's a great question posed in the reader's comments:

If they are allowed to be paid by the state for expenses they did not incur, then it is not a "reimbursement". It is additional income and should be TAXED as such. They are going after all of us with their stupid mailings for sales taxes we "avoid" when we purchase something out of state, yet they blatantly file expense reports for expenses they didn't incur, get a check for it and consider it legal under the table money. That's not the way our system works.

This is tax evasion, fraud in submitting expense reports (you'd be fired at a minimum if you worked for a company and did this), and is just plain wrong. If it is an end-run for more money and they feel they deserve it, vote themselves a pay raise and pay taxes on the money like the rest of us schmucks.

Dennis
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Does anyone know if leglislators get a 1099 for their travel allowance? If so it is hardly "under the table money". I do know that the current or a similar system was going on back in the 1960's when my Dad was in the leglislature. It would certainly look better if leglislators were reimbursed for mileage, meals and lodging after filing a report of actual expenses as state employees (or as most employees anywhere) have to do. However, given that they make the rules it is unlikely that they will make themselves subject to them.

Melvin Udall
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Well, if you believe in equal protection under the law, then I'd say we citizens have the same right to ignore statute and constitution as our friends in the legislature do.

Peter
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="J. McKane"][quote="Peter"]One former Rep told me that after people get elected they soon become ethically corrupt.[/quote]

Gross overstatement.[/quote]

Sorry Rep McKane- In the real world this is considered fraud. Submitting expense reports for transportation cost that one didn’t incur? Better yet, this getting a free lunch and your money back.
Talk about a fleecing of the Maine Taxpayers.
I can only imagine how quickly a private enterprise would go bankrupt with such morally complacent employees!

...---...
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

I wonder if the idiots in Augusta were actually moving the state forward would anyone even care about their 35 cents a mile?

J. McKane
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

[quote="Peter"][quote="J. McKane"][quote="Peter"]One former Rep told me that after people get elected they soon become ethically corrupt.[/quote]

Gross overstatement.[/quote]

Sorry Rep McKane- In the real world this is considered fraud. Submitting expense reports for transportation cost that one didn’t incur? Better yet, this getting a free lunch and your money back.
Talk about a fleecing of the Maine Taxpayers.
I can only imagine how quickly a private enterprise would go bankrupt with such morally complacent employees![/quote]

Peter - no question that there are "ethics violations occuring in Augusta. Just the same - there are a lot of good people up there - both sides of the aisle - that, I don't believe, are going to become ethically corrupt.

Melvin Udall
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STATE HOUSE: Travel pay can be gravy for some legislators

Agreed, J. McKane.

But you must recognize that the majority who are ethically corrupt give the minority who aren't a bad name.

The way to fix that is for the untainted to make sure that the tainted are held to account. If they don't, they acquiesce to being painted with the same brush.

I remember being lined up in grammar school and being told that unless the one who did it comes forward, everyone will be punished.

It's the same idea. If the perpetrators aren't singled out, than all are assumed to be perpetrators.

It's called "identity group politics."

Ha ha.

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