They voted to increase their daily allowance to $173 a day (from $128 a day):
The money is meant to help the state’s 236 lawmakers pay for food and lodging, but they don’t have to account for it with receipts. Legislators are entitled to the daily allowance every day they attend the upcoming 40-working day legislative session and for any days they spend in committee. It is in addition to their $7,000 annual expense account – for office supplies and other items — and their $16,524 annual salary.
In increasing their per diem rate, the Legislative Services Committee matched it to the federal rate of $173 for the Atlanta area. And from now on, the state rate will track with the federal rate. The last time lawmakers increased their per diem was July of 1999, when it went up from $75 to $128.
“For our legislators who spend a lot of time in Atlanta, it’s hard to rent a hotel room and eat on $128 a day,” said House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons Island). “In fact, I would say you can’t do it unless you stay in some areas you may not want to stay in.”
It’s fine by me. In fact, it wouldn’t bother me if they got an increase in their salary. How many people can take the first three months of the year off? Anything we can do to increase the number of non-lawyers in the Legislature is good in my mind.