Fiona Ma Refuses to Use State-Subsidized Cars Amid Looming Budget Crisis

Categories: Government
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Giving, not getting, free rides
Not every executive feels entitled to perks in the face of a financial fiasco.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma is one of a handful of lawmakers in Sacramento who refuses to use taxpayer dollars to get to and from work. Ma has decided not to use state leased vehicles, one of the many benefits lawmakers enjoy in Sacramento. Go here to see where your representative stands.

Legislators who opt-in get a car allowance, including a state vehicle, which some have argued is much cheaper than reimbursing lawmakers for miles they drive for work.

But what's even cheaper than that is having lawmakers use their own vehicles and pay for  their own gasoline -- which is what Ma has done since she was elected to office in 2006.

"Given the fiscal situation, she had a car already so she stuck with using her personal car," a staffer said.
The state is facing a $25 billion budget deficit, and Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed controversial measures to help close that gap, including stripping away redevelopment agencies across California cities. Redevelopment agencies generate tax dollars from improving blighted and rundown areas.

But Brown believes the tax dollars generated by redevelopment agencies would be better spent on schools and public safety. Today, the the state's Controller John Chiang announced that his office would start auditing redevelopment agencies across the state to ascertain how effective they are.

Meanwhile, veteran lawmakers, including Assemblyman Tom Ammiano are cruising around in state-issued hybrids.

"It's easy and convenient," said Quintin Mecke, Ammiano's spokesman. "I don't think he thinks it is that big of a deal."

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