Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, was first elected to the Assembly in 1982, and moved up to the State Senate in 1987. Since 1982, Robert Cowles has been feeding at the trough of taxpayer dollars. We have paid his salary and paid for his Cadillac health care coverage (which he refuses to extend to the rest of us). We give him money every day the legislature is in session for a hotel room and for meals. We pay the salary of his entire staff.
How much has Robert Cowles cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin during his entirely indistinguished legislative career? Well, his salary is about $50,000 a year ‘ just taking that the cost to taxpayers has been $1.25 million. That’s just him, not even his staff! $1.25 million.
One additional thing taxpayers provide to legislators is road maps legislators can give out to their constituents. I used to work in the Capitol and constituents truly enjoy getting a road map. I still request one every couple of years. Maps are cheap. Over the last five years, the map service has cost about $190,000, $60,0000 less than Robert Cowles salary for doing nothing over the same time period.
So of course, I was surprised when I read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning and saw Robert Cowles’ comments calling the maps ‘an egregious waste of money.’ I mean come on. If $190,000 is such a waste of money, has Senator Cowles offered to pay back his per diem of $88 for every day the legislature is in session? Cowles then parrots the same old tired GOPer talking point: ‘Why should legislators be competing with the private sector?’ he says. Good question. That’s why Robert Cowles should be the first legislator to give up the taxpayer-financed health care he and his family enjoys.
UPDATE] According to research from our crack investigative team, Robert Cowles took $6,424 dollars in per diem in 2008, $9,856 in 2007 and $5,368 in 2006, of which $0 he has offered to pay back. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us lowly taxpayers could get paid to drive to work everyday like Robert Cowles?