BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers from western parts of the state get between $60 to $90 each day they drive to the State House in Boston. How much they get is based on where their district is, whether they file their daily expense reports, and how many times they go to Boston.
“Certainly the per diem issue is one that’s been around for a while and whether it should continue to exist is something that we should have a healthy debate about in this building,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).
A look at last year’s travel log shows Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) traveled to Boston the most.
Most Often At the State House (2013):
1) State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg – 213 days
2) State Rep. Todd Smola (R-Palmer) – 132 days
3) State Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst) – 117 days
4) State Rep. Michael Finn (D-West Springfield) – 115 days
5) State Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) – 102 days
Sen. Rosenberg was also paid the most for commuting to work.
Highest Paid to Commute to Work (2013):
1) State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg – $12,780
2) State Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) – $9,090
3) State Rep. Paul Mark (D-Peru) – $8,100
4) State Rep. “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) – $7,830
5) State Rep. Michael Finn – $7,590
Those who live in Berkshire County drive a total of five hours to and from Boston. Berkshire County State Rep. “Smitty” Pignatelli believes the current compensation system is far from perfect.
“I used to have a colleague that actually didn’t even own a car and walked to work at the State House and still put in the per diem so that’s where we can make the system better.”
Not much information is required to file a per diem report. All a lawmaker would need is the week and how many days they visited the State House. The State Treasurer’s office says they are not aware of any fraudulent per diem reports within the last eight years.