Friday, April 15, 2011

Good News on Tax Day: State Lawmakers Lose Free Cars

We noted yesterday that Gov. Brown appeared to be trying to stop the state's lavish-perks panel (known as the California Citizens Compensation Committee) from ending the taxpayer-paid cars that all Sacramento legislators currently drive. On Wednesday, he appointed two people to the committee and demoted Chairman Chuck Murray. Murray, of course, had been outspoken about ending the car perks. According to the LA Times, Brown replaced Murray with one of the Wednesday appointees, union stooge Thomas Dalzell.

Sacramento's battles over cars aren't nearly this cool.
Apparently our speculation on this move was accurate: Brown was trying to keep the car perks in place to avoid upsetting any legislators at a time when he needs their votes for his budget plan. A less charitable critic might call that a bribe, but whatever. When the CCCC met Thursday, Dalzell did his best to stall discussion of ending the car perks, but we're happy to say that he was not successful. The Committee voted to end car welfare for lawmakers.

Instead of receiving a taxpayer-paid vehicle of their choice, along with free gas, maintenance, and insurance, at an average annual cost of $7,300, lawmakers will now get a $300 monthly transportation allowance. The move is expected to save the state over $2 million in the next five years. Proposals to further slash lawmakers' salaries are still on the table. Until then, we'll close with this message to the newly deprived in Sacramento: don't spend that $300 all at once, you greedy, overprivileged bastards.


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