Letter of the Day

House Per Diems Earn Rebuke

Editor, Times-Dispatch: Reports that legislators are accepting $115 per diems during the special session really got me thinking.

Why does a Delegate from Richmond or Chesterfield need the same amount of money to cover lodging and food, which is what the per diem is supposed to cover, as a legislator from Abingdon? To me, this is a gross waste of taxpayer dollars. Delegate Brad Marrs is accepting his per diem during the special session, one of the only “local” legislators to do so. I highly doubt that Marrs needs a hotel room during the session, yet he gets $115 a day just like the rest of the legislators. It doesn’t make sense.

All legislators should be allowed up to $115 a day, but they should be required to document their spending and provide receipts for lodging and meals. Those who don’t need lodging wouldn’t get paid for it. A step toward reform and real fiscal conservatism would be to reimburse legislators for their actual expenses, as opposed to giving them a per diem. State and local governments don’t write out blank checks to their employees for hotel rooms they don’t need and meals they don’t eat, and the General Assembly shouldn’t, either.

Also, per diems should be forbidden during special sessions. Taxpayers should not have to pay extra for the legislature’s inability to compromise. Tamra Anderson. midlothian.

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