Legislator (Over?) Compensation

"The annual salary paid to members of the
2005 Wisconsin Legislature will be $45,569.
Legislative salaries will not change during the
2005-­2006 biennium, because Article IV,
Section 26, of the Wisconsin Constitution
dictates that salaries of public officers cannot
be increased or diminished during a term of
office. A 1992 constitutional amendment
allows holdover senators (those in the middle
of a 4 ­year term) to receive an adjustment
when the new legislature is inaugurated, so
that their salary matches that of newly elected
legislators. "

This doesn't seem excessive to me. The healthcare retirement
benefits are also based on un - used sick leave, again, in my mind
not unreasonable.

But then you have this:

From- JSonline:
"Take Republican state Sen. Dave Zien of Eau Claire, one of the Legislature's most expensive members. In the last legislative session, he claimed 74 round trips to Madison and 249 days actually spent in the Capitol. Yet he also said he drove 46,000 miles in his district, often listing his constituent work as "meet bikers" on his reimbursement forms. With a $24,000 reimbursement just for mileage - enough to buy one of his beloved Harleys - Zien pulled in more than $47,000 above his actual salary.

Does that mean Eau Claire has an engaged, energetic senator in touch with voters, or someone who is milking taxpayers?"


eagle76 said...

I've heard the Dave will still be holding his annual "Guns For Tots" drive.

CANRAC said...

The fact that this stuff always comes up when there is a problem is what bothers me. You now have former and convicted legislators using banked sick leave.

Unfortunately mileage does not include what you drive, a high mileage vehicle or a gas hog. Mr. Zien using his bike has obviously maximized his mileage.

I'm going to guess that these guys could use vehicles the state already owns, and a state charge card for gas, and probably come out with less expense then the mileage pay off. Renting cars might even be cheaper.

I have a hard time considered elected members of the legislature true employees.

666 said...

What's also interesting here is that the local Republicans were hammering on Kerry Kittel about teaching one semester and legislating another semester. They were calling him a double-dipper wannabe.

Since many of these legislators are business owners who have the flexibility to turn the running over to others -- John Murtha's son, wife, etc. will run Murtha Sanition -- will also be double-dipping in the benefit department. I'm sure these people are making sure their candy jar is filled to their liking.

It was nice to see Kittel make a run for the Assembly and get the approval to have job flexibility if he won. The attacks against him came from the business owners and they are the ones who want to keep the paycheck receiving voice silent in legislative action.

Also, the word on the street is that Zien also slept in his office and collected per diem.

Save the Bikers said...

Hey OTBL defenders of the taxpayer...
Where's the outrage? These are your tax dollars wasted driving around with "fellow bikers" on a Harley.
I guess there must be some socially redeeming reason that makes this a wise use of taxpayer dollars.
How 'bout filling us in on what that might be?
"Wasting" tax money on kids and schools is soooooo much more distressing, isn't it?