Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bill to curb state vehicle misuse is defeated

A measure aimed at curbing potential misuse of state vehicles, making its second journey in two years through the legislature, was once again defeated Tuesday at the capitol.

The defeated measure, Senate Bill 23 by Republican Sen. Kent Lambert, of Colorado Springs, was considered today in the Senate Transportation Committee. With his bill, Lambert wanted state employees to reimburse the state for miles driven to and from work in a state owned vehicle—miles that are already taxed by the IRS as a fringe benefit.

“Very few people get to have a company car to drive back and forth to work,’ said Lambert. “Free rides on the taxpayer’s dime shouldn’t be happening and we need more accountability for this practice.”

The measure identified what constitutes commuting to and from work and specifies that the state employee must compensate the state for those commuting miles. Defining what a commute is became the focus of discussion especially in the case of first responders, particularly those in rural areas who are on call 24/7, many of whom do not have an office they commute to on a daily basis.

Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, said she couldn’t support the bill because of the adverse impact it may have had on law enforcement who must have their work-equipped vehicles at home in order to respond quickly to emergency situations.

“I can’t turn my back on law enforcement who will be hurt by this bill,” said Spence. “ It’s not fair to ask them to pay for a tool that they are required to use.”

Lambert remained steadfast that in his belief that abuses could be weeded out without creating hardships of those who legitimately used the vehicles for work purposes.

Via - Colorado News Agency

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