A state lawmaker who flew with former GOP Majority Leader Jimmy Merrill on the state plane to a legislative “conference” in Winston-Salem, N.C. is now asking her colleagues to refuse any food or travel reimbursements for this week’s special session of the S.C. General Assembly, prompting several of her colleagues to cry foul.
“Hypocrisy,” one lawmaker said of the request from Rep. Shannon Erickson (RINO-Beaufort), who has apparently found religion when it comes to travel expenses.
“Given the dire straits our budget has and continues to be in, I ask that you consider waiving your reimbursement for subsistence and/or mileage also,” Erickson said to her colleagues in the S.C. House of Representatives in an email obtained by FITS.
Lawmakers are receiving no pay for this week’s special legislative session, although they will receive a $132 subsistence reimbursement and mileage for one round trip to and from Columbia. Additionally, lodging costs could also be billed back to the state in the event the session goes longer than one day – which it is expected to do.
Obviously, we support Erickson’s request – particularly seeing as the necessity for this week’s special session is due exclusively to legislative incompetence.
Also, it’s a dollars and cents issue … if every lawmaker were to refuse subsistence, mileage and lodging costs, the state could save as much as $50,000-$70,000.
Of course, Erickson is probably the last person who should be taking the lead on this issue.
After all, as FITS readers will recall, she was one of several lawmakers to travel on the state airplane to Winston-Salem (five hours away by car) for what amounted to an out-of-state cocktail party.
Joining her on the flight were former GOP Majority leader Jimmy Merrill (RINO-Charleston) and Representatives Bill Herbkersman (R-Bluffton) and Anne Peterson-Hutto (D-Charleston) – as well as hospitality officials and a registered lobbyist.
Irrespective of Erickson’s opportunistic hypocrisy, what do you think? Should lawmakers treat themselves to taxpayer-funded food, travel and lodging to fix a mistake of their own making?
Vote in our poll below …