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The Pay-Jackers: Legislative larcenists

| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005

The so-called four-day rule, a little-known Internal Revenue Service tax deduction for state and federal lawmakers, gives new meaning to "tax cuts for the rich."

The IRS allows those representatives living more than 50 miles from their workplaces -- their respective state or federal capitals -- a $141 tax deduction for each day they are in legislative session, attending a committee meeting or when they are home, as long as no more than four days pass between the legislative business days, according to The Patriot News of Harrisburg.

If a salesman made the $81,050 base salary that Pennsylvania legislators granted themselves in July without debate or public input, he would have to pay almost $2,400 more in taxes than the commonwealth's so-called public servants.

That probably explains the bipartisan indifference in the General Assembly to lower taxes for other Pennsylvanians.

And why there are so many nonvoting session days for legislators.

And why Democrats inside the Beltway complaining about so-called tax cuts for the rich never propose eliminating the four-day rule.

To compound this outrage, politicians claiming the $141-per-diem nontaxable deduction are not required to keep receipts.

No paper trail.

No accountability.

Sweet -- for the legislative larcenists, that is.

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