Curtailment of per diem for Juneau lawmakers may impact Kito's re-election plans

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau Representative Sam Kito's decision to seek re-election this year my hinge on whether the recommendation of the state salary commission eliminating per diem for Juneau lawmakers is embraced by the Legislature.

Kito was a guest on Action Line Friday.  He said the report will be submitted to the Legislature within the first ten days of the start of next week's session.  The Legislature then has until the 60th day of the session to pass a bill rejecting the salary commission's recommendations.  Kito explained that the  recommendations at this point only include a reduction in per diem for Juneau lawmakers.

When Host Pete Carran asked how a decision by the Legislature to accept the recommendation would impact his decision to seek re-election, Kito said, "And it will.  So if the salary commission recommendation stands, I'm going to have to look at the finances of being able to do the job that I'm doing and its going to be a deciding factor on whether or not consider a run for re-election."

When asked to justify why Juneau lawmakers should receive per diem, Kito said that while in session he does not have the ability to actually to engage in other employment.  Since lawmakers were in session for 187 days last year, Kito said it was pretty much impossible for any lawmaker to go out and earn income.

Juneau lawmakers currently receive 75 percent of the per diem amount received by other lawmakers.


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