While they cut programs for the most vulnerable Californians, lawmakers cling to their perks, including state-subsidized cars and gas credit cards paid for by taxpayers.
They're paid $95,291 a year, plus they get tax-free expense checks that amount to another $30,000 a year. And they get those state cars, even though they don't drive them very well.
The Sacramento Bee used public records to show that when legislators wreck their state-issued vehicles, they bill the taxpayers for the repairs -- $768,000 over the past five years.
This report comes a few days before the California Citizens Compensation Commission convenes. Chairman Charles Murray says legislators should give up their cars.
It's hard to argue otherwise, given the legislators' decision to bill the state for their own mishaps. If you are driving a friend's car and have an accident, the ethical response would be to insist on paying for the damage.
Not state legislators, who can get away with the practice because they make the rules. Legislators from both parties crashed their cars and sent the bills to the state -- making this a bipartisan scam.
Sen. Doug LaMalfa, a Northern California Republican, hit a raccoon and charged the state $1,317. Poor critter.
And here's some gall. Assemblyman Cameron Smyth and Sen. Mimi Walters, both Southern California Republicans, nicked their personal cars with their state cars and billed the state for the damage. Don't they carry personal insurance?
To read the complete editorial, visit www.fresnobee.com.