Letters to the Editor

Representatives quiet when boosting benefits | Letter

This past week the Washington State House of Representatives members were given a 33 percent daily per diem increase. Their $90 per day per diem was increased to $120. The per diem amounts are used for housing and meals. Each member of the House whose home office is 50 miles or more from the capital receives the per diem. Both representatives from the 31st District qualify.

I find it interesting that a proposed increase in the per diem process does not have to be introduced on the House floor for debate and voting purposes. Instead, an executive committee, comprised of a few representatives, decides on the increase. The chief clerk then declares it official. This seems a very convenient process for those receiving a per diem increase. It saves the individual representatives a “nay” or “yea” obligation in view of the House gallery and the media in attendance. Sweet!

Another interesting fact, legislative aides also qualify for the daily per diem. Whereas, the House representatives were given their 33 percent raise, the aides’ per diem was not changed. Their per diem remains at $35. (Yes, $35 per day.) Fair treatment for these individuals who basically have the same daily expenses? I don’t think so.

In summary (here I vent my frustrations with the politicians in Olympia), while it appears our representatives are spending the majority of their 60-day session once again playing partisan politics, at least their choice of menu items and refreshments has blossomed. Oh well, congratulations Seahawks.

Ron Holmes


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