Thursday, February 22, 2007

Classic Pogo 

Only in the perverted world of Larry Pogemiller can voting against a per diem tax increase be seen as something that should be punished.

By a 59-7 vote, the Senate ratified a $96 daily expense rate that members began collecting more than six weeks ago. In a first-of-its-kind twist, the naysayers will be required to file paperwork requesting an expense allowance instead of getting their money automatically.

Aside from the increase itself � the rate had been $66 a day since 2001 � Republicans complained loudly that a resolution approving the boost was demeaning to opponents.

Sen. Tom Neuville of Northfield said the decision to make dissenters clear extra hurdles struck him as "an implied punishment for having the audacity to disagree."

Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said it comes down to transparency.

"That just says you can't vote no and take the dough," he said.

Having filled out paperwork for expenses for many years here at SCSU, I can tell you the receipts thing is a deal. My professional travel has a per diem (currently $34 I think) for which I never need to turn in a receipt. So I don't put the Panera charge for $3.17 for a coffee and bagel with a shmear in my wallet, nor the soup lunch. And for many of these people, they can either go home or to a state-provided apartment or hotel and fix their own meals. But Pogemiller chose not the easier route of telling the Frugal Seven to return what they don't use but to harass them with paperwork because they were compelled to vote again on the pay increase.

Leo reminds us that politicians don't think the voters will remember a pay raise increase. I think the receipts list of the Frugal Seven might help jog some memories.
St. Cloud Times: Senator Clark, can you show receipts of your expenditures for meals incurred while you were in St. Paul on official business?
Sen. Clark: No, I don't have those.
St. Cloud Times: Why not?
Sen. Clark: I wasn't required to because I didn't vote against the per diem increase.
Like THAT interview will ever happen!

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