Sunday, April 22, 2007

Travel Perks for TN Legislative Leaders


NASHVILLE — Buried in the state budget is a special provision for the state's top lawmakers that allowed former Senate Speaker John Wilder to have the full cost of travel on his private plane reimbursed with taxpayer money.

Most of Tennessee's 132 lawmakers must adhere to a law that allows them to bill the state for the actual auto mileage between their home and the Capitol. Those living at least 100 miles away can be reimbursed for the lowest fare commercial flight available.

But under separate travel rules established in the annual state budget document, the speakers of both chambers, the majority leaders, the Senate floor leader and House majority whip are given the special perk of having the full costs reimbursed for "travel by conveyance owned by such person."