State senators will have their per diem expenses cut by $10 if their Rules Committee action is approved by the full Senate. And that’s expected.
Instead of senators being able to put in for $96 per day in expenses, the reduction would mean just $86 per day.
That per diem is in addition to mileage (51 cents per mile) and rental allowance for those who live 50 miles or more from the Capitol ($1,200 per month). Those allowances remained the same as last session.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina, acknowledged the reduction was “mostly symbolic” and “not going to balance the budget.”
In 2010, Politics in Minnesota reported it cost the state about $1.7 million for legislators’ per diem charges.
DFL Sen. Tom Bakk, of Cook, and Sen. Keith Langseth, Glyndon, didn’t object to the reduction, but both did note the relatively low compensation (PDF) that legislators get: $31,140 per year. Legislators haven’t received raises since 1999.
Minnesota legislators are supposed to be “part-time,” but that’s often no longer the case. “It is getting harder and harder to manage an occupation outside this place,” said Bakk.
The House was expected to make a per diem trim today, too, to $76 per day to cover miscellaneous expenses.