As a credit union loan officer, my niece occasionally has the sad duty of collecting keys from borrowers who turn in their cars because they can’t keep up with the payments. A similar scene is unfolding in Sacramento this week – except that it’s a lot harder to have any sympathy for the people turning in their cars. They’re state legislators, and they haven’t been picking up the car payments. You have.
A lease car has been a unique perquisite for California legislators, providing senators and Assembly members with SUVs, luxury sedans and the occasional muscle car of their choice, along with a gas card to keep the tank full (and, of course, insurance and maintenance). Some states provide pool cars or pay mileage reimbursements, but no other state leases cars for legislators. California’s cars will be sold to private vendors.
California will begin paying mileage reimbursements, just as the state does for other employees who use their personal vehicles on the job. As a matter of principle and appearance, it’s the right thing to do.
– Jim Sweeney