Lawmakers claim $218K at-home expenses

By Guy Page

Through Feb. 19, Vermont lawmakers have claimed $218,144 in the $75 per diem permitted for at-home expenses.

Legislators are entitled to ‘Stay At Home Expense Reimbursement’ of up to $75 dollars per day, according to information provided by the Office of the Speaker of the House (see graph below). The information states that “this reimbursement is available to legislators to cover expenses incurred by working from home doing work with constituents and committee work.”

Guy Page

As the graph shows, legislators also are entitled to travel and meals expenses, in addition to their $742/week in-session pay. However, the need for travel and eating outside of the home has greatly diminished since last spring, when the Legislature opted to hold ‘virtual’ committee and full House and Senate meetings due to pandemic concerns and restrictions. Since then, lawmakers have typically stayed home and connected via the internet.

While in session from January until late spring, the full Legislature typically meets four days a week, Tuesday — Friday. The 2021 Legislature convened Wednesday, January 6 and has met 27 times through today, according to House Journal records. (Occasionally, some committees also meet on Mondays.)

If all 180 lawmakers claimed the full $75 expense for all 27 days, the reimbursement would be $364,500. Officials figures provided to Vermont Daily this morning show that about 60% of that amount has been claimed.

“I ran a query in our accounting system and according to expenses reports posted through this morning (2/19/21) for the 2021 legislature session — $218,144 [for the at-home per diem] is the total spent so far,” said Joe Harris, who handles public information requests for the Vermont Department of Finance and Management.

Vermont Daily also has requested 2020-2021 legislative expense comparisons. We have not (yet) requested information about reimbursements for individual legislators, nor were any contacted for comment before publication of this story. Lawmakers’ comments are welcome and will be published.

The guidelines below do not list permissible expenses. Nationwide, at-home work expenses for state employees resemble permitted IRS expenses for home offices including cellphone usage, internet costs, paper and printer ink, and partial utility costs.

Vermont Legislative Reimbursement Amount Notes
Weekly Salary $742.92 per week Only available during the legislative session. The typical legislative session runs 16-18 weeks.
Mileage Reimbursement .56 cents per mile This is the federal rate. Legislators submit a mileage reimbursement expense form and it is only available for traveling to Montpelier during the legislative session or to certain committee meetings.
Lodging Allowance Up to $127 per day Only available to those renting an apartment or staying at a hotel in Montpelier. Only available  during the legislative session.
Meals Allowance Up to $66 per day
Stay At Home Expense Reimbursement Up to $75 dollars per day This reimbursement is available to legislators to cover expenses incurred by working from home doing work with constituents and committee work.
Image courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org

8 thoughts on “Lawmakers claim $218K at-home expenses

  1. What a joke. If they claim it all, which most do, it’s over a grand a week, tax free for them while the rest of the state struggles to make ends meet. They continually cost us more with their virtuous laws that do nothing except cost the average Vermonter.

    • How do we have a report of the “Debate/discussion? of action before the legislature.??

      Does some super secretary watch a tv screen of over 100???? faces to find out who is speaking??

      Are they accomplishing anything, or just placing a portrait of themselves in from of their Konfuser. While they go to the refrigerator for a beer?!?!

      How can they discuss ,lobby other legislators for votes for anything “in the cloakroom?”

  2. This has been going on for years. No accountability. NH law makers have to present receipts to justify expenses. Not liberal VT. The taxpayers are a cash cow. Here’s an article from 2/3/2010 about the great honest ex governor runner: Zuckerman who proudly states this corruption is rampant.

    Vermont Legislators Admit to Cheating the System. Are They Justified?
    https://m.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/vermont-legislators-admit-to-cheating-the-system-are-they-justified/Content?oid=2139396

    Liberal saying / thought: “What is yours, is mine. What is mine is mine”. They hate the taxpayer enough to rob them. It is white collar crime. Hard to have trust in Government, these are the leaders, fine example for the kids? It defines payola. Somehow they can’t solve VT’s financial problems, but they know how to solve their money situations.

  3. It did not count any perks or kickback from lobbyist to submit a bill that none of them are smart enough in those areas to write.

  4. Over PAID for what they claim to be doing. which is NOTHING !!! Remember the interview
    Zuckerburg had with 7days.. where he admitted how he doctored the amounts and laughed about it, saying I deserved every penny. Then he claims that 7 days misquoted him. They all screw over the taxpayers… Half of them don’t even tune in to these so-called ‘virtual’ meetings. Other people aren’t getting over $742.00 a wk to stay at home. Our legislators should get paid like the NH legislation gets paid. $200.00 a YEAR !!!

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