Some Valley Leaders Pocket From Budget Woes

By: Amy Kehm
By: Amy Kehm

They couldn't figure out what to do with your tax money. Now it's costing you even more.

The 2004 regular General Assembly session ended March 13. More than a month later, legislators are still going. And don't think it's without a pricetag.

Del. Allen Louderback (R), 15th District, is one Valley leader getting a stipend out of his extra meetings. "I do not see where it is my position to be paying out of my pocket to pay for going down there and spending my time," Louderback tells TV-3.

So, you, the taxpayer, are footing the bill. Delegates are eligible for $115 per session day for food and lodging. Sixty out of 100 are taking it.

"We need to really focus on where the spending and the heavy dollars are, not on $115," Louderback defends.

But so far it's $115 PER delegate PER session day. As of April 7, the tab was more than $52,000.

Del. Chris Saxman (R), 20th District, isn't taking it. "I just didn't think it was necessary to take the money," he explains.

The decision was split, and some delegates are giving the stipend to charity.

As for the Valley, the following delegates ARE taking the stipend: Del. Ben Cline (R) - 24th District, Del. Allen Louderback (R) - 15th District, and Del. Beverly Sherwood (R) - 29th District. Cline has indicated he is giving his to charity.

The following are NOT receiving the stipend: Del. Clifford Athey (R) - 18th District, Del. Steve Landes (R) - 25th District, Del. Chris Saxman (R) - 20th District, and Del. Glenn Weatherholtz (R) - 26th District.

While Delegate Saxman declined the money, he says he doesn't blame others for taking it, since the travel gets expensive. Louderback, the President of his own company, has a different rationale.

Louderback defends, "I have to go all the way to Richmond, spend five hours of my day going down there, those are the issues - not to mention the time that's there."

Delegates only receive money for the session days they actually attend. The State Senate voted NOT to accept the $115 stipend.

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