Welfare for legislators: Low-cost housing | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Welfare for legislators: Low-cost housing

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 2:39 AM

click to enlarge LOW-RENT HOUSING: Only legislators need apply.
  • LOW-RENT HOUSING: Only legislators need apply.

Add taxpayer-subsidized housing to the welfare that legislators receive.

I just got the updated list of legislators fortunate enough to get handy housing in the Capitol Hill Building, the state-owned building managed by the secretary of state's office.

(No, in response to a caller, a sister of a former legislator is not on the list of tenants.)

The 49 legislators pay from $320 to $370 a month for Little Rock pied-a-terres within walking distance of their office. I believe that includes utilities, but I'm checking and also asking if it includes WiFi and/or cable TV.

Legislators also draw $150 daily per diem  five days a week during the session, whether the legislature is meeting or not. They also draw mileage reimbursement at roughly 15 cents a mile more than state employees. They also just got a 150 percent pay raise to just under $40,000.

Realestate.com has three one-bedroom listings in Little Rock currently, renting for just under $600 a month, but those prices don't include utilities.

Remember this when legislators vote to exempt working poor from income tax cuts; when they cut unemployment benefits; when they vote to drug test welfare recipients; when they cut public services, and when they groan about the cost of big government.

There's plenty of free parking for legislators, too. Also: Lobbyists are allowed to use the building for free to provide free meals and drinks to legislators at the "planned events" that legislators legalized despite the November-approved constitutional amendment whose name said it was intended to ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators.

UPDATE: The rent includes all utilities, including cable TV. WiFi is also provided by the Bureau of Legislative Research. I haven't been able to get an answer to my question about the process for determining who gets spaces in the building.

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