To LD23 Representative Jay Lawrence,
I view being an elected representative as a job description and not just a title. It is especially true in this era of COVID-19 that we move past the divisive rhetoric and put our community first.
While so many of our neighbors have endured economic hardship and health issues, Arizona state legislators like yourself are continuing to be paid a per diem for their daily working expenses in addition to their salary. Since our representatives in Maricopa County don’t need to maintain a second residence to perform their duties, some have given those payments to local charities. But not all.
Since mid-March, when the legislative session was suspended Mr. Lawrence, you have happily taken over $1,500 in taxpayer dollars above your salary. You have had zero reason to be accepting a per diem, a daily payment for expenses in addition to your salary, while you have been homebound this whole time and you haven’t been commuting or incurring expenses.
Sadly this is unsurprising as you have a habit of using our scarce tax dollars and even your campaign funds for your own personal gain.
Even other Republicans have criticized you, Mr. Lawrence, for having your hand in the cookie jar, calling you out for using campaign funds to pay for almost $3,000 in gas and putting your wife on the payroll. And yet this hasn’t been enough. You’ve pushed for multiple pay raises for state representatives despite being rejected by voters and having the Governor veto an increase in compensation.
“In California, they get over $100,000 a year, plus automobiles, plus, plus, plus,” Lawrence complained, in addition to $192 a day in per diem. “So, yeah, I believe we deserve more money because it’s an all-year job.”
I am tired of the rank hypocrisy coming from career politicians. Last year you voted to nearly triple your per diem. Thankfully the Governor had the good sense not to go along with your scheme otherwise you’d be pocketing around $4,000 for not working while Arizonans struggle through this crisis.
I guess Jay really wants to make Arizona more like California, but only when he gets a cut of the money for himself. Where is your fiscal strength, sir? You are in recess. Please explain why you need $1,500 for working meals and gas money when your commute is from your couch to your fridge?
Do something for the people Mr. Lawrence; donate your windfall to a worthy charity. In fact, if you do I will match your $1,500 to a local food bank. Too many people are suffering for you to be fattening your wallet.
Editor’s Note: Eric Kurland is seeking election to Arizona’s House of Representatives for Legislative District 23.