Letter to the Editor:Elected Officials Expense Accounts and Tax Incentives

Dear “Speak Up Line”

Here is a story idea that you might want to pursue as an addition to all that is being exposed in your news publication on these corrupt self serving assholes. 

   STATE: There are 53 legislators who are receiving the new state $20,000 expense allowance instead of $15,000. In order to collect the $20,000, legislators must be living more than 50 miles from the Statehouse.


   FEDERAL: Legislators who live more than 50 miles from the Statehouse are also eligible for a special federal tax break that has been criticized for years. A 1981 federal law allows them to write off a daily expense allowance when filing their federal income tax return. The result is that these legislators pay little or no federal income tax on the income they earn as a state legislator.


   Few, if any, legislators have ever revealed whether they are taking advantage of this amazing federal tax break. Their tax return is private and there is no way for the media or anyone else to find out if a legislator is taking advantage of the break.


   We have a clue now. Kinda. But not a definite answer. There are 53 legislators who have been determined to live more than 50 miles from the Statehouse and as a result are receiving the $20,000 (instead of $15,000) state expense allowance.


   Do some or all of these 53 legislators also claim the huge federal tax break because they live more than 50 miles from the Statehouse? Obviously, we don’t know for sure. But we now know that they use the 50-mile requirement to take advantage of the new state law that gives them $20,000 instead of $15,000.


   This might be a good time to approach any of the 53 who are your local legislator and ask him or her if he or she takes advantage of the federal tax break that results in him or her paying little or no federal tax on their legislative salary.


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