Politics & Government

Here’s what lawmakers’ pay, food and housing costs Kansas taxpayers each day

The Kansas Capitol building (Jan. 22, 2014)
The Kansas Capitol building (Jan. 22, 2014) File photo

It is costing taxpayers between $43,000 and $45,000 a day to keep the Legislature open now that lawmakers have surpassed the 90th day of the session as they look for a fix to the state’s budget hole.

The bulk of that goes toward legislators’ pay and their per diem for food and lodging, according to Legislative Administrative Services.

▪ Lawmakers get paid $88.66 each day. Multiply that by the 165 members of the Kansas House and Senate, and it comes out to $14,629 daily.

▪ Lawmakers also receive a $129 daily stipend to cover the costs of meals and hotel rooms while they stay in Topeka. That costs an additional $21,285 on a daily basis.

Together, that means feeding, housing and paying lawmakers costs more than $35,000 a day.

Lawmakers also get reimbursed for their mileage once a week. The rest of the money to arrive at the oft-quoted $43,000 figure goes toward paying the Legislature’s staff and security.

During the regular session, it costs more than $50,000 to keep the Legislature open, but in an effort to save money, most of the lawmakers’ staff members have been sent home now that the Legislature has gone into extra days. Only a “skeleton crew” remains working, according to Administrative Services.

Administrative Services noted that lawmakers are paid even for days that they’re not in Topeka as long as that day is technically considered an official session day. That’s why the Legislature technically adjourned on Thursday before lawmakers left for a four-day weekend. Thursday was the 96th day of the session. Adjournment pauses the clock and the costs until Tuesday.

Otherwise, taxpayers would be paying for the four days lawmakers are on break. The adjournment means that taxpayers won’t be paying for lawmakers’ Memorial Day break. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Topeka on Tuesday.

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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