HARRISBURG, Pa. - Taxpayers in the Keystone state are footing the bill for state-leased cars lawmakers are driving. The House State Government Committee met Tuesday to discuss if this should continue or not.
"I think, getting rid of these vehicles and having all legislators use their own cars is really the direction we should go," said State Representative Brad Roae.
All state lawmakers from across the Commonwealth must travel to the State Capitol for work. For some, it takes hours. For others, it takes minutes. Legislators can choose to receive mileage compensation, a state-lease vehicle or nothing at all. It's the state-leased vehicle, at the expense of taxpayers, some lawmakers are looking to do away with.
"A lot of people don't like the idea that legislators are given things average people don't have," said State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill
Lawmakers leasing a state vehicle are allowed to spend up to $628 a month. For comparison, lawmakers who choose to drive their owns cars can receive milage reimbursement at about $.54 per mile.
"Our state is facing great financial challenges," said Phillips-Hill. "So if there's a way to better manage the state's resources, everything should be on the table."
State Rep. Roae is proposing a bill that would rid lawmakers of all state-lease vehicles. Several reasons come into play. Roae, along with Phillips-Hill says not only is the program costing the state a significant amount of money, but there's a problem when lawmakers choose to use these cars outside of work.
Roae also believes there is not enough oversight, mentioning State Rep. Margo Davidson's 'hit-and-run accident while driving a taxpayer-funded car while her license was suspended.
"Had that been a serious accident taxpayers could be on the hook for millions of dollars in lawsuits," said Roae.
At the end of the day, these lawmakers on the House State Government Committee say while considering all options it all comes down to being transparent and accountable. Moving forward, the committee will meet to talk about Tuesday's hearing and then decide what should be done to move forward.