As the General Assembly goes into overtime, extending its 60-day session by a day to complete consideration of the state budget, Frederick Kunkle’s post on the Washington Post’s Virginia Politics Blog makes clear the contrast on fiscal responsibility between the Virginia House and the Virginia Senate.
The House Republican Caucus followed its long-time principle—no reward for missing a deadline—by proposing House Resolution 40, which the House adopted today. The Resolution eliminates the $135per diem payment for delegates during the extension of the 60-day session.
The Senate, which already gives its members a more generous $169 per diem, took no similar action.
This is the same Senate that dragged its feet on negotiating the state budget with the House. Having come up with over-inflated revenue estimates, the Senate conferees would not engage with the House Budget Conferees in serious discussion about revenue last weekend.
Having created a delay by its inaction, the Senators insist on reaping a reward for missing the budget deadline established on December 11 (See House Joint Resolution 9).
Legislators who live outside the Richmond metro area receive per diem payments to cover the expenses of living in Richmond during the legislative session. Under the Federal tax code, per diem in excess of actual costs can be kept as tax-free income.
UPDATE: See what others are saying about the Senate’s action: Too Conservative, Bearing Drift, SwacGirl at Virginia Virtucon