JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) -
(App users, to view the interactive data visualization, follow this link).
Data is sourced from Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency. The data includes per diem payments over the 2017 Legislative Session, between Jan. 17 through July 15.
While July 15 is not until tomorrow, some legislators claim per diem in advance. Because this is the case here, the data reflects some per diem earnings one day in advance.
Every day, since Jan. 17, lawmakers are in session; moreover, they are eligible to receive a tax free per diem payment, which is intended to help offset the cost of living between Juneau and their home districts. The rate right now, is $295 a day.
This year's attempts at lawmaking are likely far from over, and the state has already spent $2.2 million on per diem payments, which includes both the regular and special sessions.
Overall, lawmakers have received nearly $37,000 in per diem each, on average. Because this amount is tax free, you would need to earn over $50,000 a year for that much take-home pay. Meaning, in per diem alone, lawmakers have received about what the average Alaskan earns in a year overall.
Republicans, on average, have claimed about $2,500 more than Democrats. And members of the GOP House minority have taken the most of any caucus. Something one member defends as necessary, because the minority does not set the calendar and has to stay present in case something develops - even if it's slow.
Check out the interactive data visualization, above, to see how Alaska's legislators, caucus, chamber and party members compare, in per diem payments received, thus far.