I know I couldn’t stand it. All the lying, back-stabbing and outright thievery would produce some hellacious sensory overload.
Seriously, the way the system is currently set up — you can’t afford to be a state legislator unless you are: retired, independently wealthy, or a business owner who can set your own schedule. (Or have a do-nothing job provided by some politically-connected supporters. *COUGH, COUGH.* Yep, I’m looking at YOU.)
The General Assembly has its fingers in sooooooooo many pies. The calendar is loaded down with committee hearings. In the Internet Age — where so much telecommuting occurs — legislators are tied up in Raleigh for so many mundane things that COULD be handled remotely via cyberspace.
Their only real job is to put together a budget. Some states allocate a certain number of months — two to three — to make that happen. If there is no agreement, the state continues with the previous year’s budget.
Yet, here in North Carolina — amid the alleged ‘conservative revolution’ — we’re not talking about scaling back the General Assembly’s involvement in stuff. We’re not talking about shortening the schedule or doing more things remotely. We’re not talking about folks cutting their tenures short because of any financial hardship. Our ‘honorables’ are choosing the path that has been so successful for them in the past — squeezing more money out of us.
Legislators are already paid a salary in addition to mileage and per diem (for food and lodging). It’s my understanding that some Raleigh hotels offer specials to accommodate legislators during session.
Despite that $$$ from tax coffers, many legislators are busily buying their meals and paying for Raleigh lodgings with campaign funds provided by lobbyists and others with interests before their respective chambers. (We’ve documented several cases on this site.)
SO, the tax $$$$ for food and lodging and mileage get pocketed, while the campaign coffers take the hit. *NICE, eh?*
But apparently the tax money and the campaign funds aren’t enough. A group of legislators (including OUR OWN Jamie Boles) has introduced a bill seeking another increase in taxpayer-provided per diem and mileage payments to legislators.
This bill won’t stop them from continuing to dip into their campaign funds. Lil’ Kim and her crew down at the state board of elections have already indicated they don’t care about the antics of Jason Saine and Kelly Hastings. So, as a pol out to make a few dollars, what is there to worry about?