Panel Slams the Brakes on Legislative PerkBy Mike Luery

By Mike Luery

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s been driving voters crazy for decades, but it’s over now. The practice of lawmakers driving taxpayer supported vehicles has just hit a giant stop sign.

Californiawas the only state to supply vehicles for the entire legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But that changed today – after a vote by the California Citizens Compensation Commission.

The Commission voted to get rid of the state-supplied vehicles for lawmakers – a perk that cost taxpayers roughly $900,000 a year when you include the use of a gas card. But the Commission deemed it an unnecessary expense withCalifornia$15 billion in the red. And while legislators may be lamenting the loss of their wheels, taxpayers CBS 13 talked to at the Capitol were overjoyed.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea,” said Carolyn Kilmer, a tour guide supervising student visitors at the Capitol. “I think they need to live like the rest of us do and know what it’s like to live on a budget,” Kilmer told CBS 13.

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Capitol visitor Steve Childress was quick to agree. “Everybody in the state ofCaliforniais taking a hit except our legislature, so it’s about time they take a hit too,” Childress said.

Amy Goldberg was visiting the Capitol today fromLos Angeles. She told CBS 13, “I think it’s a wonderful idea. I think they should take away more things.”

So lawmakers will have their taxpayer supported cars taken out of service, but they won’t be completely grounded. Instead, they will get a $300 monthly allowance to drive their own personal vehicles, starting this December.

By voting to cut expenses by more than half, the Commission will saveCaliforniataxpayers an estimated $2 million over five years. 

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