The recent 8.5 percent increase in the 165 state legislators’ daily “subsistence payments” – to $140 each, up from $129 – is drawing some criticism, especially because the raise was automatic. It’s also irksome that the pay hike follows the longest legislative session in state history, which ended with the largest tax hike in state history. But the real outrage of legislative perks remains that lawmakers can have their pensions calculated as if they were paid every day of the year, not just for the regular 90-day session. That means a lawmaker who has an $8,000 annual salary in office (plus daily and non-session per diem) can elect to draw down a pension based on an annual salary of $90,000. – Rhonda Holman
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