Monday, March 05, 2007

Carpe dinner diem 

I had someone email me over the weekend suggesting that the per diems received by state legislators was taxable (which I guess is supposed to mean they have less to spend, and thus we shouldn't be picking on them.) They said they heard it on 'CCO from Pat Kessler -- I haven't seen or read that clip, but I thought it was worth checking out.

It's both true and false. A per diem paid to anyone that isn't necessary because the recipient could acquire those services at home is compensation that can be taxed. So I heard of a case where someone working for a non-profit drove 90 miles in each direction but had her or his per diem payment declared income by the IRS. But I found an advisory that for state legislators the distance is 50 miles. So if someone takes a per diem (for meals and incidentals, remember; housing is a separate payment, and only if you live more than 50 miles away thus never taxable) and lives in the 50 mile radius they in fact DO pay tax on that, less whatever receipts they can generate for legitimate expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. And they get this on weekends, and during special sessions -- even though the DFL was offered motions to be more circumspect on these requests, and sent them to Tony Sertich's gulag (also known as the Rules Committee.)

Anyway, wanted to be sure we cleared that up. Here's today's dinner. After going fish on Friday, time for some real meat, so let's send our solons off to Mancini's for some red meat. The kebab looks really yummy, but I'm thinking the 12 ounce fillet, which for $23 comes with the salad and a baked potato. For another $4.95, let's have the cheesecake for dessert. Fillet demands a strong red, so may I suggest a Barolo? (Where the hell is Bogus Doug when you need wine recs? Oh yeah, American Idol. Feh.) At these prices, I think you could have two glasses and still make it for the $60.

And if you are being taxed on that money and don't have the tip, tell 'em you're doing them a huge favor by getting rid of smoking in restaurants. They'll make it up on all the new business they'll get, right?

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