Arizona lawmakers give up bid to raise living allowance - for now

2013-02-12T00:00:00Z 2013-02-12T07:40:09Z Arizona lawmakers give up bid to raise living allowance - for nowHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
February 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - State lawmakers have given up in their bid to increase their daily living allowance, at least this year.

"I'm done," said Rep. Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson.

Wheeler, who had been lining up Democratic support, and Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, said there's just not the support in either party, especially for the big increase that had been proposed.

Legislators who live within 50 miles of the Capitol get $35 a day; those from farther awa get $65.

Stevens and Wheeler had proposed linking the payments to federal per diem allowances, a move that would have boosted the payments to about $98 and $163, respectively - and adjusted them automatically every time the federal rate went up.

"Those numbers were just unacceptably too high," Wheeler said. "It wasn't going to work."

Wheeler said he has no plans to recraft the measure with lower figures.

He said there is a legitimate need for more money, however - at least for lawmakers who have to maintain a second residence for the nearly four months the Legislature is in session and then to come to the Capitol for other meetings.

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