8 Arkansas lawmakers get $50K or more...

8 Arkansas lawmakers get $50K or more in expense money

There are 9 comments on the Baxter Bulletin story from Feb 2, 2011, titled 8 Arkansas lawmakers get $50K or more in expense money. In it, Baxter Bulletin reports that:

LITTLE ROCK - Eight Arkansas lawmakers drew more than $50,000 each last year on top of their salaries, including allowances for attending meetings, mileage to and from those meetings and expense reimbursements, legislative records show.

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Paragould, AR

#1 Feb 2, 2011
Billy Gaskill was at the top of the list, won't be voting for him next time around.
jet set

United States

#2 Feb 15, 2011
LITTLE ROCK (AP)— Eight Arkansas lawmakers drew more than $50,000 each last year on top of their salaries, including allowances for attending meetings, mileage to and from those meetings and expense reimbursements, legislative records show.

The number of plus-$50,000 collectors in 2010 — when the Legislature met only for a fiscal session — was down from 20 in 2009, when a full, regular legislative session was held.

Topping the list in 2010 was state Sen. Randy Laverty of Jasper, who was paid $59,745 in per-diem, mileage and expense payments, in addition to his regular legislative salary of $15,869.

The other seven in that group were state Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, D-Crossett, who was paid $52,427; and state Reps. Ray Kidd, D-Jonesboro,$54,064; Tommy Baker, D-Osceola,$52,199; Bill Gaskill, D-Paragould,$52,100; Mike Patterson, D-Piggott,$51,814; Jon Woods, R-Springdale,$51,467; and Monty Davenport, D-Yellville,$51,186. Davenport no longer is in the Legislature.

Lawmakers who draw the most expense money attend more meetings, live farther from Little Rock, and go to more out-of-state conferences. The eight who drew more than $50,000 have some of the longest trips from home to Little Rock and back. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday that total expense money paid last year to all 135 members of both the House and the Senate was $4.7 million. That was up by $300,000 from $4.4 million in 2008.

Laverty said his out-of-state travel included five trips — three meetings of the Energy Council, in Newfoundland, Canada, Biloxi, Miss., and Santa Fe., N.M.— plus meetings of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington and the Southern Legislative Conference in Charleston, S.C. He was reimbursed a total of $9,777 for those trips.

"Any conference you go to you've got to ask yourself first of all,'Why am I am going to a conference?' " he said in an interview. "If it's just to be going on a trip, then I don't have time for that. But if it is something where I can learn, if it's going to help me in my capacity as a public servant, then I would consider it if I can get away from work and the usual grind."

He said the Energy Council meetings are some of the most informative he's attended about energy policy and its agricultural aspects.

"I didn't realize that shellfish or the fish in the Gulf were safe, very safe (and) they weren't impacted by the spill (in the Gulf of Mexico), and that was something that I didn't know," said Laverty. "Now what benefit is that to my people in my district? I guess what benefit is a college degree, really? Well, it is a benchmark of something you have accomplished in the state, and as a state senator I've tried to become the best informed I can possibly be."

Jeffress is one of the lawmakers who have drawn mileage expenses of more than $1,000 in previous years for driving to conferences.

He said that in 2010, though, he billed the state for the cost of a plane ticket to a legislative conference in Charleston, S.C., although he drove there and back.

"(It) was just cheaper to fly, so I charged the airline ticket," he said.

He said he did that, "so I wouldn't be No. 1 again," and acknowledged that he drew criticism last year for driving long distances to conferences and collecting mileage expenses. In 2009, he collected $60,092 in per diem, mileage and expenses to lead the list of payments to legislators. That's the most a lawmaker has collected in one year for several years.

One legislator filed for no per-diem, mileage or expenses — state Sen. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, vice president of community investment for the Arkansas Community Foundation. He said his office is close to the Capitol, so he doesn't have extra travel expenses, and he didn't attend any out-of-state conferences last year because he "just never felt a need."

United States

#3 Feb 26, 2011
Unfortunately, Billy just won his third and final term. It's a little irritating to me that he's billed out that much in expenses, but does so little in the legislature. He's ancient and probably attends conferences just so he doesn't have to pay for a vacation. I hate to speculate like that, but I have ALWAYS been very unimpressed with his work in the legislature. This just irritates me to death.
dat gurl

Little Rock, AR

#4 Feb 27, 2011

Benton, AR

#5 Feb 27, 2011
looks like old rbjackass is whining to the mods again and having posts deleted again. I posted about all the criminal democrats sucking up double doses off the tax teats and all the criminal democrats po'd about this thread using those stupid judge its to slap at the guys posting the article. Oh and I mentioned the fact that rbjackass lied again since I saw where he posted he isn't on topix on the weekends but also saw he was all over the place. What a lying loser. Rumor has it LBTurd is his wife, N E body know? Looks like they are usually on topix together.
Ain t it the Truth

United States

#6 Feb 28, 2011
Didn't ole Patterson get into some trouble for taking a 'paid' trip to Guatamala a couple of years back for the U. S. Rice Producers Association?

United States

#7 Feb 28, 2011
Now if we're talking about legitimate expense reimbursement for productive work then I have no problem with it at all! Of course they should get mileage to and from Little Rock. Of course they should get to attend conferences that will benefit them as legislators. I just have some trouble with over $50,000 in reimbursement when they don't sponsor much of anything and just take up space. I expect a little bang for my buck.
same ol same ol

Fort Huachuca, AZ

#8 Mar 2, 2011
Notice anything they all have in common?

Bexar, AR

#9 Mar 5, 2011
This sure is nice to have to make a car payment...right Patterson?

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