The Legislature's per diems: Abolish them
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 9:11 p.m.
It's pretty stunning to think that members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly are reimbursed for their expenses without documentation. It's even more stunning to think they can turn around and turn a profit from those receipt-less expenses.
But, then again, this is Pennsylvania, the State of Corruption.
We're talking — again — about per diems, those daily payments taxpayers make to house and feed lawmakers in the state capital when the Legislature is in session. Taxpayers shelled out nearly $4 million during the 2011-12 parade. Our leaders are paid a set rate of anywhere from $160 daily to $242 daily, depending upon where their official duties take them.
Our state representatives and senators should be reimbursed for work-related expenses, just as anyone else is. But they should be reimbursed for actual expenses and required to submit receipts, just as are we mere mortals in the real world.
Furthermore, per diems shouldn't be a profit center for legislators. Some have gone together to buy houses in Harrisburg, using the per diems to pay their mortgages. Down the road, technically, they could sell those houses at a profit. Is that really a proper use of per diems?
Pennsylvania legislators do have the option of turning in their receipts for actual reimbursement. Some do. The rest should follow their lead, do the accountable thing, then vote to end the practice of per diems.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- The Malaysian jetliner probe: Passport insecurity
- The market speaks: Cadillac dealers reject another electric folly
- The Thursday wrap
- Sunday pops
- THE BOX
- Another EPA crock: Sulfur silliness
- Market perversions: Chrysler retreats
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances