Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

February 19, 2014

A costly perk

Bill puts limits on free hotel rooms for lawmakers

Believe it or not, some state legislators who live a mere half-hour or less from the State House in Annapolis spend $101 of state money per day to stay in a hotel during the legislative session. In fact, even if a lawmaker resides in Annapolis, he or she can still move into a hotel room at state expense.

The practice has been going on for years. But now a Howard County Republican senator is sponsoring a bill that would end the per diem subsidy for hotel rooms for about two-thirds of legislators.

Sen. Allan H. Kittleman’s bill does away with hotel subsidies for any legislator who lives within 50 miles of Annapolis. The only exception would be during the final two weeks of the session — when lawmakers work well into the night. The final two weeks would permit hotel stays at state taxpayer expense.

The Daily Record in Baltimore reports that last year the state spent $1.4 million on housing allowances for legislators. Of that, $816,000 went to 105 legislators who live within the 50-mile limit proposed by Kittleman’s law. Another 19 who live within the limit claimed no housing per diems last year, according to the Department of Legislative Services.

Besides the housing subsidy, senators and delegates receive $42 per day for meals and are not required to submit receipts for reimbursement. Last year the meals cost the state $432,700. Another $182,500 was paid to legislators for mileage expenses.

An analysis of the bill found that, if passed, Kittleman’s proposal would save the state $693,400 annually in housing expenses and $221,100 in meal expenses. Mileage reimbursements would likely increase by $130,500 but the total savings to the state in fiscal 2015 would be $784,000, the Daily Record reported.

Legislators from far-away areas like Allegany and Garrett county should obviously be permitted to have lodging during the 90-day sessions. But for those who live relatively close to the capital, paying for overnight hotel lodgings seems to us to be a ripoff of state tax money.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo