Lawmakers close to approving $3K bump in office allowance for selves, higher contribution limits

The state Capitol on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

With just days remaining in the legislative session, state lawmakers are getting close to giving final approval to a bill providing each of them a $3,000 annual bump in their home office allowance.

The bill would also hike legislators’ per diem amounts to reflect the average cost of hotels in Nashville’s busy — and pricey — downtown business district rather than the rate allowed for federal workers ($234 per night this year).

And best of all for lawmakers, they get the money regardless of how much (or little) they actually spend on their home offices or lodging in Nashville. No need to submit receipts. And the home office allowance would be indexed to the consumer price index — the urban version, even though most lawmakers live in rural areas — meaning it will have automatic increases in the future.

House members are currently limited to mileage reimbursement for one round-trip between their home and the Capitol per week. The bill would allow them to put in for as many trips as they choose to take.

The changes are estimated to cost an additional $438,000 per year. The Senate has already approved the changes, and the House is expected to vote on whether to concur early this week.

Meanwhile, a separate bill would double the contribution limits for senate candidates who have long complained that they shouldn’t be held to the same standards as those running for the House because their terms are twice as long and they represent three times as many people. Under the latest version of the bill headed for a final vote in the Senate, the House would also get a boost in the amount candidates for the lower chamber could receive from each PAC from from $8,300 to $12,700, bringing them into line with those running for Senate or governor.

15 Responses to Lawmakers close to approving $3K bump in office allowance for selves, higher contribution limits

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    Cryan says:

    “indexed to the consumer price index — the urban version, even though most lawmakers live in rural areas.”

    They are so jealous of Nashville. Enjoy your Supermajority, Tennessee!

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    Disgusting. Not a surprise, though…

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    What about the limits on individual contributions?

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      Erik Schelzig says:

      As I understand it, individual contributions would be unchanged.

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        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Thanks. That’s a shame, but it gives individual conservative Tennesseans more opportunity to influence the important races that will take place around the country in 2022.

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    Phillip Lassiter says:

    This should be a volunteer job. Dipping into trough with unlimited trips…….we all know that will be double trouble

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      LeeAnn C says:

      Hard for a working person to volunteer. Taking the better part of 5 months of the year to be in Nashville is pretty demanding.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    This is exactly how Conservatives and Republicans enjoy ABUSING their power once they gain it. The state of Tennessee does, without a doubt, have a majority of conservatives and republicans at the moment. The conservatives who post on this site tout how the GOP has made the state a complete paradise. I seem to remember a phrase from somewhere that states: “Power Corrupts” and “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely!” I especially like the fact that the legislators knew they might be called out on this if it came up at regular intervals, so they built in a steady raise for themselves EVERY year automatically- so no one has to debate anything or take a vote that might be on the record -just sit back & wait for the cash to roll in. Those conservatives have a way about taking care of Some Tennesseans – like all the legislators first, before even the friends and family part comes into play. Not sure how long the general public will allow the conservative and republican party’s to enrich themselves at the public’s expense. So far, not too many people (or not enough) complain about abuse of power. I will not vote for any politician that allows this type of behavior to just sneak through without comment. The voters should be paying much closer attention to the sneaky tricks the legislators love to use to abuse their positions. This will change slowly and these small but dirty deeds will catch up with our “majority” of elected officials at some point. Make no mistake about it, they they know fully well, right now, exactly what they are doing and how wrong it is but they are betting not enough voters are paying attention. Some day, they will and we will ALL be better off! You have to get out and vote the crooks out!

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    James White says:

    According to the votes a VERY POPULAR Bill with Both parties.

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    Jonathan Swift says:

    One of the few jobs where you can vote yourself an increase of your total compensation instead of attending to the needs of the people that elected you.

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    David Collins says:

    Doing what they do best–lining their own pockets! Like pigs wallowing in slop, they just can’t seem to get enough. They would be wise to remember the old adage, “Pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered.”

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    Jim says:

    Despicable. Absolutely deplorable. They’ll give themselves as much money as they want and they’ll cut unemployment for the poorest without even blinking.

    None of them deserve to be in office. Why would anyone vote for a single one of these miscreants?

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    By far, the majority of the legislators are Conservative Republicans as most people know by now. Do not let them get away with this. Everyone should register to vote and get out and vote these people OUT of office.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    While the Governor, Bill Chicken-Wing Lee is hiding behind tricks like this article points out, to allow hidden and repeating raises for his fellow legislators it becomes obvious that this is just one more Conservative “DIVERSION,” so as to keep yet another explosive story QUIET and trying to cover up the Governor’s major liability in making it happen. Yes, our own Governor is working hard to make life miserable for many life-long family farmers in West Tennessee. Many of these farmers voted for Lee before, but won’t again. Look on the “Tennessee Lookout” website and read about the governor suspending environmental rules that allow chicken farms that produce solely for Tyson Foods to “take over” several counties in West Tennessee. The Gov. invited his friends in corporate agriculture to come on in and displace the local farmers (his former supporters). All Conservatives and Republicans in East TN, should read this story as it tells a pretty involved history of how our conservative Governor has uprooted several huge farming communities by his actions. He talks a good line but his results are not pretty. Yes, The real story about Governor Lee can be read right now at “TN Lookout” but I should warn you, it STINKS!

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