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State lawmakers could come out ahead in car expense plan

November 22, 2011 |  6:19 pm

The decision to pay state lawmakers mileage for using their cars on business instead of a $300-per-month transportation allowance could end up costing taxpayers more.

The Citizens Compensation Commission  voted in April to take state-owned cars away from lawmakers and instead give them a $300 monthly allowance to save money. But the state controller has notified lawmakers this month that the commission was not authorized to provide the allowance, so legislators will have to seek reimbursement for mileage at a rate of 55.5-cents per mile.

The commission estimated providing lawmakers with cars, gas, maintenance and insurance was costing about $892,000 a year, while the allowance would have cut the cost to $432,000.

The cost to reimburse lawmakers for mileage at 55.5-cents per mile would be $1.25 million annually using figures compiled by the Legislature and commission on the number of miles driven in the past by legislators.

"It’s a better deal for the legislators," said Commissioner Charles Murray.

--Patrick McGreevy