Assembly republicans considering giving representatives more money for expenses

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) -- Over the past decade we've all seen the cost of living skyrocket.

Wisconsin lawmakers are now considering giving themselves more money to get to the capitol to represent us.

Republicans in the State Assembly are behind the new push to raise their per diem rate.

It hasn't been raised in 11 years.

WEAU 13 News spoke with local assembly members about the increase.

Right now they can get $88 per day for food and lodging while they're in Madison on legislative business.

“The argument is that we're hearing the cost of living has increased so we need to address it in terms of the per diem level,” said democratic State Rep. Steve Doyle of Onalaska.

“It's something that should and could be looked at in the future,” said republican State Rep. Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls.

Representatives are paid $49,900 a year and get reimbursed for gas.

But Bernier said she often spends her own money traveling to Madison and to attend functions outside the capitol.

“I think that a lot of my constituents think that being a member of the Wisconsin Women in Government would be a good thing. But any memberships with any professional organization are paid for out of my pocket so that could probably be looked at as well,” Rep. Bernier said.

Some democrats feel republicans want the per diem increase as a way to pump up their salaries.

“There's a reason why we call it public service. And my feeling is we have to make a little bit of sacrifice to do our jobs. That’s what we're elected for,” Rep. Doyle said.

For the raise to happen it would have to be approved by a committee.
There wouldn't have to be any final approval from the full Assembly, Senate or Governor.

Both representatives WEAU talked to said giving themselves a raise may not bode well with voters.

“It's the perfectly wrong message at this time that we're asking everyone else to tighten their belts. It would be very hypocritical for us to say that we're exempt from that,” Rep. Doyle said.

“We have probably more important irons in the fire, truthfully,” Rep. Bernier said.

The Assembly is currently controlled by republicans so the increase would need support from GOP leadership to become a reality.

A message for incoming House Speaker Robin Vos was not returned.


The comment sections of our web set are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from the viewers but we are not obligated to post comments we feel inappropriate or violate our guidelines. Here are some of the criteria you should follow when posting comments:

Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. Children and families visit this site. We will delete comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.

We will delete all comments using hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our web site.

Comments should not attack other readers personally.

We will delete comments we deem offensive, in bad taste, or out of bounds. We are not obligated to post comments that are rude or insensitive.

We do not edit user-submitted comments.

As a host WEAU 13 News welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However, we have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason WEAU 13 News reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 182279541 - weau.com/a?a=182279541
Gray Television, Inc.