Well, two words: Not taxable.
Unless I'm completely wrong, per diem payments are not taxed since they are considered work-related expenses, so I really wish media would mention that in stories like this one in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Who wouldn't like to be reimbursed for meals that you buy at restaurants during the work week, for example - - but pocket the reimbursement from taxpayers without having to report it as taxable income? Sweet.
The data in the story is comprehensive, and readers will no doubt enjoy this wonderful morsel:
Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, saw the biggest jump in per diem pay, receiving $10,648 in 2013 after promising during the 2010 campaign not to claim any per diems.
“We need to cut legislative per diems,” Krug told the State Journal in 2010. “My first spending cut is promising not to collect one cent of (legislative) per diem money ever.”
He kept that promise in 2011 and 2012 but said in an interview last week he didn’t intend the promise to extend beyond his first term...
“It might have been a slip to say ‘ever,’ but my intention was to help out in a tough budget time,” Krug said.