The Texplainer today is based on a Texas Tribune reader issue, Nathan Kennedy. Send us your questions about politics and politics in Texas by email or by visiting texastribune.org/texplainer [email protected]
Hey, Texplainer: What is the cost for Texas taxpayers and the state of the special session? What is the cost breakdown?
Little by little, as government programs are carried out, a special 30-day session is inexpensive enough – a million dollar rate.
Paid legislators are the most important: in addition to their $ 7,200 annual salary they are currently earning $ 190 a day in what is called a “per diem” – to cover their expenses in Austin.
This daily remuneration has varied over the years; It is limited by IRS benefits and established by the Texas Ethics Commission, the agency that also regulates the conduct of campaigns, candidates and officials.
In 2009, the daily price of legislators was $ 139. It was raised to $ 168 in 2010 and $ 150 2011-2014.
In February 2015, the Commission approved an increase of $ 40, an increase of $ 5600 the compensation of legislators during the regular 140-day session.
With 181 Texas lawmakers plus lieutenant governor, taxpayers spend $ 34,580 a day for their daily amounts, so the special session could cost a total of $ 1,037 if lawmakers meet for 30 days.
This excludes overheads such as printing and public services; A spokesman for the Legislative Budget Board stated that there was no current estimate for these.
It is a small fraction of the total spending state. The legislators of the state budget for two years has been approved worth 217 mm.
Legislators receive the payment up-to-date during the duration of the special session, either on the Capitol for each day, according to Patsy Spaw, the Senate secretary.
However, there have been cases – as in 2003, when most senators from the Democratic state fled to New Mexico before the special session – where lawmakers refused their daily wage.
“They have even if we do not meet on Saturday or Sunday, because in theory, it’s paying their accommodation,” said Mr. Spaw.
The last special session was held in 2013, but with the daily schedule earlier than ever, the special session starting Tuesday must be the most expensive in decades.
To pay for the special session, lawmakers will skyrocket the 2016-17 budget. If they occur, they can cover these expenses in a supplementary budget during the 86th session of the legislature in 2019.
In the announcement of the special session, Greg Abbott said he plans to hold 30 valid days for Texas taxpayers, advocating an ambitious 20-item agenda of lawmakers.
But if I’m going to ask taxpayers to pay the bill for a special session, I intend to do that count. ”
According to Spaw, lawmakers do not typically recruit new employees outside their full-time staff throughout the year during the special session, which helps reduce costs.
“Twenty objects are a lot, but there are thousands of people during the regular session,” Spaw said. “The full-time staff of legislators is certainly sufficient to manage the limited number of items in a special session.”
In October 2016, it was proposed to increase the daily rate of $ 217. The commission rejected.