MADISON, Wis. - State lawmakers added nearly a million dollars to their salaries last year through daily travel expenses.
The expense allowance, part of state law for years, helped some lawmakers add 20 percent or more to their take-home pay.
State lawmakers from outside Dane County can collect $88 per day in reimbursement, without showing any expense receipts.
The Republican leader in the state Senate collected more in per diems in 2010 than any other lawmaker.
Records released by the Legislature's clerk's offices show that Sen. Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau received $16,544 in per diems in 2010.
At No. 2 in the Senate is Weston Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, at $12,854. He was not re-elected.
Elkhorn Republican Neal Kedzie collected the third-most per diems in the Senate with $11,528.
Rounding out the top five collectors of per diems in the Senate are Milwaukee Democrat Tim Carpenter, who collected $11,440, and West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman, who clocked 123 days in Madison for $10,824.
Who racked up the most per diems in the state Assembly?
State Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, claimed the most per diems in the Assembly at $13,464 for 135 days. Schneider lost re-election.
Coming in at second-highest in the Assembly is Horicon Republican and then-Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, who brought home $13,024.
Milwaukee Democrat Leon Young is third, working 147 days for $12,936. in per diems.
Fourth is Kenosha Democrat Peter Barca, at $12,232.
In the fifth spot is Abbotsford Republican Scott Suder, who brought home $12,144.
All of these amounts are in addition to a salary of $49,943 a year.
Dane County lawmakers also heavily used the per diems this year, but they can only collect $44 a day.
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