Sunday, September 16, 2007

Legislature Spends Like Drunken Sailors

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly takes a look at spending by the Indiana General Assembly on itself, and it's not pretty. In fact, it downright out of control. The House will spend $33.9 million during the next biennium, while the Senate will spend $26.2 million, or a combined $60.1 million in spending. That's over $400,000 per member. And that's not counting more than $2 million in planned renovations or the $20 million it will spend to run the Legislative Services Agency, which is the substantive staff charged with drafting bills and amendments and preparing fiscal impact statements.

The easiest example of wasteful legislative spending is the $353,000 in wasted legal bills for the House prayer lawsuit, some of which went into the pocket of the law firm of former House Speaker Brian Bosma. More than $5 million went to pay for constituent mailers, which are really nothing more than taxpayer-funded re-election brochures for members. Even though members are paid a healthy per diem for each day the legislature is in session, the House and Senate shelled out more than $20,000 to purchase food and drink for members while the legislature is in session. Then there's the staff. The House employs 83 full-time staffers compared to the Senate's 65. Kelly's report notes, however, that staffing for the Indiana legislature is well below the national average for other state legislatures.


Anonymous said...

I've worked with LSA on multiple occasions. How they keep any lawyers, at the salaries they pay, is a mystery. They're dedicated, largely non-partisan, and necessary.

Pay them more. Party less, dudes. The workerbees need the money.

It bears repeating, and it only gets more true with time: Harrison Ullman was right. This IS America's worst state legislature.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is any way to quantify how much money they have waisted with the worthless SJR7 Marriage Amendment?

Anonymous said...

"Over time – from fiscal year 2002 to fiscal year 2009 – the money appropriated for House and Senate expenses, subsistence and salaries has grown 40 percent in the House and 65 percent in the Senate."

That pretty much sums it up.

Mike Kole said...

Gary, please. Comparing these guys to drunken sailors? You really shouldn't slander drunken sailors that way.