Legislative overtime comes at cost for taxpayers

Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-21 19:06:23-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) Most Virginia taxpayers would rather their dollars go towards roads or schools than an ongoing battle over the budget.

“There’s just a lot of other uses for the money,” said Richmond taxpayer Matt Bley.

Wednesday lawmakers returned to the Capitol to try and resolve unfinished business. A state budget, estimated at about $85 billion dollars, hangs in the balance as lawmakers continue to debate the details.

“It’s unfortunate for taxpayers,” said House of Delegates Clerk Paul Nardo.

The daily rate paid during a special session is $170 per state delegate and $178 per state senator.

No staffers or aides are asked to return and are not paid with state money.

On Wednesday only those lawmakers directly connected to the budget showed up to work, about 29 delegates.

The price tag was about $5,100. But at some point all Virginia lawmakers will need to return in order to vote in the new budget. That price tag increases substantially.

“It costs about $40,000 a day,” said Nardo.

Five out of the past eight legislative sessions have gone in to extended time at an extra expense.

“Unfortunately in recent years we have gone over and you would like to see that not be the case,” said Nardo.

Lawmakers only spent about three minutes in chamber in session Wednesday before adjourning. They will formally reconvene on Monday and hope to have the details of a new budget worked out before then.