Updated: Wednesday, 18 Nov 2009, 8:58 AM EST
Published : Friday, 13 Nov 2009, 5:06 PM EST
BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - It's your money and 22News is watching it. Western Massachusetts lawmakers are receiving a lot of money -- just to drive to work.
Local lawmakers are collecting thousands of dollars in travel expenses. It is called a per diem rate and the rate depends on how far they are traveling.
Per diems rates range from $10 dollars for walking distance to the State House to about $90 dollars lawmakers travelling from the Berkshires. The average daily rate for Pioneer Valley politicians is about $66.
Rep. John Scibak of South Hadley collected $6,540 in per diems in 2008. He defends the practice by saying that his legislative district is his place of employment, not the State House (according to the IRS). So when he has to travel to Boston for work, he collects compensation.
Rep. Scibak said between gas, the tolls, and wear and tear on his vehicle, the per diem doesn't even cover all the expenses.
Senator Stephen Buoniconti is the only western Massachusetts politician 22News found who does not collect per diems. He told 22News that’s because doing so would upset his constituents.
You can click here to see how much each Massachusetts lawmaker received in per diems in 2008.