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THE MALDEN ADVOCATE
- Friday, April 21, 2017
Page 2
(978) 531-5311
www.StonewoodTavernPeabody.com
Spring Entertainment Schedule:
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THE HOUSE AND SENATE:
There were no roll calls in the
House or Senate last week.
As the first order of busi-
ness back in January, the Leg-
islature approved an $18 mil-
lion pay raise package in-
cluding hiking the salaries
of the two leaders who filed
the bill, House Speaker Rob-
ert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and
Senate President Stan Rosen-
berg (D-Amherst), by $45,000
from$97,547 to $142,547. The
measure also hikes the pay of
the Legislature’s two Repub-
lican leaders, Sen. Bruce Tarr
(R-Gloucester) and Rep. Brad-
ley Jones (R-North Reading)
by $37,500 from $85,047 to
$122,547. Another provision
hikes the salaries of the gov-
ernor and the other six consti-
tutional officers by raises rang-
ing from $30,048 to $47,083;
and hikes the pay of the state’s
judges and court clerks by
$25,000.
The only part of the pack-
age that applies to all 200 leg-
islators increased the annu-
al general expense allowance
for each member from $7,200
to$15,000 formemberswhose
districts are within a 50-mile
radius of the Statehouse and
to $20,000 for districts locat-
ed outside of that radius. Pri-
or to this increase, the most
recent increase in the general
expense allowance was a hike
from $3,600 to $7,200 in 2000.
According to the state trea-
surer ’s office, the mileage
froma legislator’s home to the
Statehouse is calculated“using
the standard of quickest route
(time to destination).”
The expense allowance is
used at the discretion of in-
dividual legislators to sup-
port a variety of costs includ-
ing the renting of a district of-
fice, contributions to local civ-
icgroups and theprintingand
mailing of newsletters. Legis-
lators are issued a 1099 from
the state and are required to
report the allowance as in-
come but are not required to
submit an accounting of how
they spend it.
Beacon Hill Roll Call has ob-
tained the list of how much
each senator and representa-
tive is receiving as an expense
allowance under this new sys-
tem.
When each legislator re-
ceived a flat $7,200 under the
old system, the total spent was
$1,440,000. Under this new
system, the total spent will be
$3,174,052. That’s an increase
of $1,734,052.
Nine legislators decided
against taking the raise and
are still collecting only the
original $7,200. Another 136
asked for and are receiving the
raise from $7,200 to $15,000
while 53 legislators are receiv-
ing $20,000 because they said
they live more than 50 miles
from the Statehouse. One leg-
islator decided to take $9,252.
Another decided not to take
an expense allowance.
The package also put an end
to legislators collecting per di-
ems which are travel, meals
and lodging reimbursements
collected by the legislators.
The amount of the per diem
varies and was based on the
city or town in which a legis-
lator resides and its distance
from the Statehouse. In 2016,
103 or more than one-half
of the state’s 200 legislators
were paid per diems totaling
$278,601.
Under current federal law,
the same 53 legislators who
live more than 50 miles from
the Statehouse are eligible for
a special federal tax break that
has been criticized for years. A
1981 federal law allows them
to write off a daily expense al-
lowance when filing their fed-
eral income tax return. The
complicated system deter-
mines a daily amount, osten-
sibly for meals, lodging and
other expenses incurred in the
course of their jobs, which can
be deducted for every“legisla-
tive day.”
Under the Massachusetts
Legi s lature’s system and
schedule, every day of the year
qualifies as a legislative day.
The Legislature does not for-
mally“prorogue”(endanannu-
al session) until the next annu-
al session begins. This allows
these legislators to take the
deduction for all 365 days re-
gardless of whether the Legis-
lature is meeting or not. Legis-
lators donot evenhave to trav-
el to the Statehouse to qualify
for the daily deduction.
The amount of the deduc-
tion is based on the federal
per diem for Massachusetts.
It varies from year to year.
The daily per diem for legisla-
tors for 2016 varied in differ-
ent parts of the state and is
Beacon Hill
Roll Call
By Bob Katzen
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