Scheduled to take effect in December, California lawmakers will no longer be provided with a state purchased car, but instead will be given a monthly transportation allowance of $300 a month. According to the California Citizens Compensation Commission, the group responsible for setting state officials’ salaries and benefits, this change will cut the lawmakers’ transportation costs in half, saving the state of California over $2.3 million over the next five years.
The salary for California legislators is one of the highest in the nation even after salaries and benefits were cut in 2009. The panel decided not to cut lawmakers’ salaries again but said it may revisit the issue if Governor Jerry Brown cuts paychecks for other state workers to help reduce the budget deficit.
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the move makes it harder for lawmakers to travel to and in their districts to connect with constituents. He feels the arguments for cutting legislative salaries and benefits have gone from being balanced, rational and a reflection of our economic times to simply trying to make a political point.