Chasing Expenses -- Again

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Dan Truitt, a Republican from West Chester, has begun his second term as the state representative for the 156th Legislative District. He's pushing to make lawmakers more accountable for their expenses. (From www.reptruitt.com)

Imagine your boss accepting your word that you spend $160 a-day on expenses every day you go to work because your company doesn't require any proof you actually spend the money.

Such is life in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

As I have written over and over, one of the more abusive perks taxpayers fund for the largest full-time legislature in America is per diem expenses, about $4 million worth in the latest legislative session.

They are tax-free; no receipts required.

Well, West Chester state Rep. Dan Truitt, a Republican starting his second term, is introducing legislation requiring lawmakers to provide receipts for any and all expenses.

It's the second time Truitt is pushing such a measure. His first effort never got out of committee.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last week reported (and I blogged about) how lawmakers ran up $3.9 million in expenses during the 2011-12 session, and noted the top two takers were Allegheny County Democrat Dom Costa ($55,495) and Philly Democrat Mark Cohen ($54,902).

This is in addition to base pay of $83,802.

You'll notice the biggest beneficiaries of the outdated, obscene system are Democrats, and the lawmaker trying to protect your money is a Republican.

So here's a question: where are the legislative leaders (all Republicans) and the Governor (Republican) on this issue?

Why isn't some political capital spent on pushing Truitt's common sense bill into law?

Why don't all the goo-goo reform groups unite in one voice to press for this modest reform?

I'll grant it's a small part of the overall cost of a too-big legislature in need of major reforms.

But it's a good place to start.

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