With the start of session, legislators from all over the state will leave their bailiwicks and take up comfort in a luxury hotel or a private rental home. Of course, the taxpayers foot the majority of this cost. In addition, we'll cover their cost of traveling to Annapolis as well as their meals. Still, it's a justifiable expense to ensure the citizens living in far eastern or western suburbs of this state receive their due representation.
Sadly, the state of Maryland doesn't limit this perk to legislators traveling sizable distances. Instead, even those living in Anne Arundel County can take advantage of these benefits. While some such as Senators Ed DeGrange and John Astle routinely decline these gratuities, other so-called fiscal conservatives view it as an entitlement.
Now, I've heard excuses ranging from age to late sessions as the reasons for Anne Arundel legislators expensing hotel rooms. After reviewing the transcripts of the last few sessions, it's extremely rarely to find a meeting that extends beyond 8:20pm. If that's too late for some, perhaps we need more energetic leadership. And, I don't want to hear about the need to bond with fellow legislators after-hours. While I see some validity in that argument, I simply encourage them to limit their alcohol intake and drive home later in the evening.
Make no mistake, we intend to publish the expense accounts of the entire Anne Arundel County Delegation. Some may feel as though the public doesn't care based on the results of the last election. Nonetheless, we intend make it a visible issue over the next four years. I suspect voters will not overlook this again in 2014.