WA Lawmakers Rack Up Cellphone And Other Bills
Senator Tim Sheldon has a Verizon account which he bills the state an average $115 a month. The cell phone company says an average unlimited talk and text plan runs about $40 with an additional $60 a month for data access - add tax and Sheldon’s cell phone expense is in line with what you would pay.
Sen. Don Benton, from Vancouver, who charges $150 a month for his cell, introduced legislation this week in an effort to corral overall state spending on cellphone use. His proposal would place new rules on the circumstances under which state agencies can give out devices to their employees. Lawmaker cell phones would be exempt.
In addition to his cell phone use, senator Sheldon regularly billed the state an average $60 a month for dry cleaning service. Sheldon says he stopped asking taxpayers to pay for dry cleaning in 2012.
In the 2011-2012 analysis by the Associated Press and shared with KMAS News, State House member Kathy Haigh received an $800 a month reimbursement for rent on her district office in Shelton, an office inside a home owned by KG Rentals, which she owns. Haigh says the rent money was used to pay for taxes and utilities. The 35th district representative told us that an office would have cost more elsewhere and was opened so that she could be closer to constituents. The home was sold last August and Haigh no longer asks for reimbursement for an office.
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