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Your Tax Dollars at Work: $173 Per Diem for State Lawmakers

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Budget, schmudget. According to the Daily News, despite our state's whopping "$42 billion budget hole" that is spawning "severe cuts to state programs and possibly layoffs" the folks hammering out the budget still get $173 a day "on top of their $116,208 annual salaries" for, you know, incidentals like parking and lunch and hotel laundry services.

Per diems are a nice perk for some jobs that tend to keep you away from home, often due to business-related travel, that our legislators enjoy, and "most lawmakers check in every few days to keep the per diem checks flowing."

However, with the budget deficit widening, and massive systems like the LAUSD crumbling--among other major fiduciary issues here in Los Angeles and around the state--some think that maybe these folks in their higher tax bracket should fork over their own cash for parking and lunch and hotel laundry services. Folks like "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado [who] object to the payments during a fiscal meltdown." Just how much in per diems has California shelled out "since the governor called the first special session in November" is hard to say, but with 120 legislators, that's a lot of Club Sandwiches the state is footing the bill for while our schools lose the cash to pay teachers and buy books.

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Photo by Tracy O via Flickr