Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has asked legislators to put money in the budget for a daily expense allowance that would pay for the days he is required to work at the capitol. The daily allowance would be in addition to his annual $86,000 salary. This budget increase would help with the “gradual impoverishment” he has experienced using his personal funds to pay for the trips.
U.S. News and World Report notes that Kinder, a republican, has his regular home in Cape Girardeau while maintaining a second home in Jefferson City. Kinder has been in office for 10 years and claims that the job has led him to “gradual impoverishment.” The impoverishment is due to the fact that Kinder must frequent Jefferson City for meetings and business. Therefore, he must use his “personal funds” to pay for meals and housing during those stays.
Therefore, Kinder is asking Missouri legislators to approve his request for a $103 daily allowance when working at the Capitol. This daily allowance would match that of state legislators. Though legislators receive a daily allowance when working at the capitol, they only receive $36,000 a year in salary compared to Kinder’s $86,000 salary.
The Daily Mail points out that Kinder’s “impoverishment” occurred despite the fact he is receiving almost double the median household income in Missouri, which clocked in at $44,306 in 2010. In addition to his $86,000 salary, St. Louis Today previously exposed the amount of money spent on hotel bills for Kinder to attended charity balls, galas and events in St. Louis. All of the hotel expenses were paid for by taxpayers, not Kinder’s “personal funds.”
“The state’s No. 2 official, who has a home in Cape Girardeau and an office in Jefferson City, has grown accustomed to staying at luxury hotels in St. Louis – and letting taxpayers pick up the tab. Since 2006, Kinder has billed the state for an average of more than two months per year at hotels in the St. Louis area.”
The price for the average of two months per year of hotels in St. Louis was just over $35,000 and included frequent stays at the Chase Park Plaza luxury hotel in St. Louis.
“Kinder has charged taxpayers a total of $35,050 for at least 329 nights at hotels in St. Louis and St. Louis County during that time period [2006-2011]. That includes 236 nights at the Chase and 42 nights at the downtown Four Seasons, his most frequented hotels. The price tag doesn’t include the cost of meals on those trips or the hotel and meal cost for dozens of trips elsewhere in the state that Kinder has taken at taxpayer expense.”
Though Kinder makes more money than state legislators, his salary is less than some other state officials. The Missouri Attorney General Chris Koser was paid $116,000 last year. Secretary of State Jason Kander made $106,000. Governor Jay Nixon earned $134,000.
What do you think of Peter Kinder’s claim of “gradual impoverishment?”