If you're a small business owner, or even a large business owner, just think of how many rules and regulations and reporting requirements Pennsylvania state lawmakers have imposed upon you.
Depending on your business or industry, those regulations could be immense -- requiring you to have teams of lawyers and accounts to keep all the paperwork in order.
So, you might think that people whose job is basically to impose regulations on other people would hold themselves to some pretty stringent standards of accountability -- particularly when it comes to tax dollars that go into their own pockets in the form of compensation or reimbursement.
But you would be completely wrong.
Pennsylvania has some of the most lax reporting and transparency standards for lawmakers in the nation.
The Associated Press this week reported that state lawmakers last year collected a total of $3.9 million for expenses -- food, lodging, etc. Those expenses are collected in the form of per diems.
Are those per diems like the expense account you have with your private-sector company -- which requires you to keep and present receipts for every minuscule expenditure, and perhaps even log those expenses in a non-user-friendly software program?
Lawmakers don't have to present receipts for their expenses like most of the people who pay their salaries have to do.
They just put in for the money and it's approved -- no receipts are required.
And if you're curious how much your local lawmaker is collecting in expenses, well, have fun funding out because they aren't required to be transparent. They don't have to post their expenses on their websites -- though some, such as former Rep. Eugene DePasquale and current Rep. Keith Gillespie, do. If your lawmaker doesn't want to make it easy for you act as a watchdog, she or he might require you to file a right-to-know request to get the info.
Shouldn't lawmakers at least have to provide receipts?
Would argue stridently that people who earn a nice living imposing rules and regulations on others ought to hold themselves to similar standards.
York Daily Record