Tag Archives: reduction

Bill to Reduce Nashville Area Legislators’ Per Diem Delayed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to eliminate hotel allowances for some Tennessee lawmakers was put on hold Tuesday after a state Senate committee member said the reimbursement rules should be tightened for the entire Legislature.
The original bill filed by Sen. Ferrell Haile of Gallatin would eliminate a $107-per-night hotel payment for the 33 legislators who live within 50 miles of the state Capitol.
The proposal was on the verge of a swift vote in the Senate State and Local Government Committee before fellow Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro proposed adding a requirement for lawmakers who live outside the Nashville area to submit hotel receipts.
“If we’re doing it for those under 50 miles, we should address those over 50 miles who are milking the system,” Ketron said.
Ketron said the change would alter the current practice of automatically paying each lawmaker the full daily allowance, no matter what they actually spend on their accommodations.
“There was a member who is no longer here who took the per diem and slept in his office and showered downstairs. That’s not quite fair,” Ketron said. “Or those who double up and triple up in to a motel room or an apartment.”
Lawmakers receive the hotel allowance for four days a week while the Legislature is in session, though most only stay in Nashville for three nights.
Ketron said he supports Haile’s bill, even though he is among the Nashville-area lawmakers who would lose the daily hotel allowance. The measure would continue to provide a $66 daily meals allowance for all lawmakers.
The original measure applying to just those living close to Nashville would cut an estimated $253,616 in lawmaker expenses per year.
Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman and the committee’s chairman, called for a vote to be delayed so staff could flesh out the language and estimated costs of Ketron’s proposal.
The companion bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Womick, R-Murfreesboro, was scheduled for a House subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
(Note: Coincidentally, the $107 reduction in per diem payments is SB107. The daily per diem total is $173. The remaining $66 would continue to be paid to Nashville area lawmakers.)

Bredesen Still Promoting Deficit Reduction

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen says citizens need to insist on a reduction in the federal deficit.
Bredesen, who served two terms as governor as a Democrat, met with reporters and editors of The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/TFJzGj ) Monday on behalf of Fix the Debt. The national bipartisan campaign aims to reduce the federal debt by $4 trillion over 10 years. The method would be a combination of higher taxes and changes in entitlement programs.
Bredesen said the group has avoided taking sides in the “fiscal cliff” discussions now going on and cautions against reading too much into statements politicians are making.
He said the more substantive arguments about the size of the deficit will come in the spring.

Whatever Happened to Phil Bredesen?

Philip Norman Bredesen is writing a book, crusading for bipartisanship and federal debt reduction, promoting the study of humanities, making speeches, keeping track of investments taken out of a blind trust and contemplating what to do next.
“I’ve got another career in me. I’ll figure out what it is in a while,” he said in an interview last week.
Three weeks shy of his 69th birthday, Bredesen joked that “I think I’ve gotten younger, actually” since watching Bill Haslam take the oath of office to succeed him as governor of Tennessee almost two years ago — an event he described as “sort of an out-of-body experience.”
Interestingly, Bredesen did not rule out re-entry into the political arena as a candidate for something in 2014 when asked about the possibility. That is a contrast to the latter part of his reig as governor when he flatly declared he would not run for any political office in 2012.
Bredesen says, “There’s no message there.” He’s just keeping options open.

Continue reading

Police Pay Cut = Fewer Tickets

Memphis officials noted a dramatic drop in the number of citations issued in July by Memphis Police Department officers, the month after 4.6 percent pay cuts were approved for MPD officers and most city workers, according to the Commercial Appeal.
Officers issued 18,341 citations, summonses and ordinance violations in July, down from 29,092 in July 2010 and 34,149 in July 2009, according to records from the City Court Clerk’s Office.
A similar decrease was recorded in August, when MPD officers issued 20,599 citations, down from 28,162 in August 2010 and 27,547 in August 2009.
After a brutal budget season this summer, most city employees — including police officers — saw 4.6 percent of their pay get cut. In addition, the City Council is slated to have its third and final vote in October on pension and benefit reforms proposed by Mayor A C Wharton.
The changes — which would affect new employees and current employees with fewer than 10 years of service — include setting a minimum age to receive retirement benefits and using a salary average to determine pension.
MPD Director Toney Armstrong alerted department chiefs by e-mail in August to watch out for a possible work slowdown by officers.