Thursday, March 01, 2007

Covering fire 

The Pioneer Press provides a fig leaf for the fifty-nine state senators who voted to raise their per diems to $96. They will take less, kinda.
Republican Sens. Ray Vandeveer, of Forest Lake; Dick Day, of Owatonna; David Hann, of Eden Prairie; Bill Ingebrigtsen, of Alexandria; Amy Koch, of Buffalo; Geoff Michel, of Edina; and Pat Pariseau, of Farmington, voted against the measure.

Since then, all but Hann requested a $66 daily payment, known as a per diem.

Several Democratic-Farmer-Labor senators also have requested less than the allowed $96 a day.

John Marty, of Roseville, will get $60 a day; Tony Lourey, of Kerrick, requested $66 per day; Dick Cohen, of St. Paul, requested $85 a day; Don Betzold, of Fridley, said he wanted no payments on weekends or holidays; and Sharon Erickson Ropes, of Winona, said she didn't want to be paid for Sundays.

Unless they specify otherwise, senators received the $96 payments seven days a week while the Legislature is in session. They do not have to submit receipts.
I wonder if Hann is taking anything at all. And I wonder if the DFLers who voted in favor but are taking less have to turn in receipts like those who voted against the per diem increase.

As a new feature of this blog, we'd like to suggest dining possibilities to the poor senators trying to scrap by on $96 a day. (I'm hopeful SCBA brother Larry will help with this, as he has to be in St. Paul for work these days. Stop by and greet Larry on his first blogiversary today.) We know it's tough, and as a seasoned traveler of distant lands I think I can help them learn to live on per diem (mine in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia last year was $56, $44 when I was in the countryside.) So I looked at the Trattoria da Vinci's dinner menu, and figured I had already spent $10 on breakfast and $20 on lunch so I was down to a mere $66. (I mean, I'm always dumping a Jackson on lunch at Panera; man, we all do it!)

Start with the Crochette di Granchio, mozzarella-stuffed crab cakes as an antipasto and the caprese salad. Then you'll have to rough it with the saltimbocca alla Romana. If you'll skip the dessert (you can use this bit of frugality as an example to your constituents) and hold yourself to one glass of wine, you should be able to do all that for under $60.

I'm sure a senator telling constituents s/he only had three courses will impress them enough to assure re-election. Which is the prize, right Tiny?

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