#ncga: Driving to Raleigh to spend other people’s money is HARD.

cryThat’s the pitiful plea that we’re hearing from Jones Street: 

Describing themselves as being in a “Catch 22” over their compensation, a committee of state lawmakers on Monday approved a proposal to increase their subsistence and travel expense reimbursements, which have been the same for more than 20 years.

Sen. Fletcher Hartsell recommended raising per diems that lawmakers receive while in session from $104 to $163, and mileage reimbursements from 29 cents to 54 cents a mile. Those rates would equal federal and Internal Revenue Service standards. Hartsell is a Concord Republican and co-chairman of the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee.

Hartsell’s proposed legislation contains no recommendations to alter base pay, which is $13,951 for rank-and-file legislators.

Citing analysis from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Hartsell noted that North Carolina salaries, per diems and reimbursements have lagged significantly behind inflation.[…]

First of all — FLETCH ?????   (Really?)  I am pretty familiar with this guy, and am NOT interested in buying anything he’s selling.  Still waiting on the results of his prosecution, by the way …. 

Before you start boo-hooing for these poor souls in the legislative building, consider THIS: crying baby

In 2015, during a legislative session that dragged on for eight months, North Carolina legislators on average took home about $48,000 each in total pay.

That included base pay of $13,951 for rank-and-file House and Senate members, plus mileage and expense reimbursements and $104 a day in subsistence pay while they had to be in Raleigh.

The average pay was more than in most years because the $104 a day added up as the session stretched from January into late September. Most years, lawmakers get $30,000 to $40,000.[…]

Not bad for a part-time job. *And that’s just pre-bribe income.*  (Remember, the average starting salary for a K-12 teacher in North Carolina is $33,000.  And they don’t have special interests stuffing their pockets with bribes campaign contributions to pay for condos, cars, clothes, vacations, cell phones, air fare.)

shakeIn this modern era, an awful lot of business gets conducted via Facetime, Skype, webinars, and other video-conferencing venues.  That has to save a lot of time and money for folks spread out in different cities, states, and countries.  Why on Earth can’t THE GREATEST DELIBERATIVE BODY (in downtown Raleigh) jump into the 21st century, get with the high-tech program, and show the taxpayers a little more respect?  

I can tell you that most of them would cringe at the prospect of having to sit through video conferences.  *It’s sooooooooo much more fun to go up to Raleigh, hide behind closed doors, booze it up and take booty calls on lobbyists’s dimes, and get your pockets stuffed with cash.*

Hey, we decide who gets to be famous via American Idol from the comfort of our homes.  Why can’t the House Transportation Committee do the same thing when voting on whether Elm Street in Bessemer City gets a stoplight?

Or better yet, why not limit the time they stay in Raleigh?  They get a shot-gun start and have a deadline of, say, three months to get all of their business taken care of.  If something comes up outside of the session, they can get together, talk about it, and vote electronically.  (With the Internet, it would be so much more of a  transparent process.)

In the real world, when things get too tight or too costly, we cut back.  Most of us don’t have somebody handy we can hit up for more money.   These guys and gals need to show us a little more respect and use their time — and OUR MONEY — much more wisely.