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Citizens demand Prefecture Assembly allowance changes

Date Posted: 2009-10-15

Transportation allowances paid to Okinawa Prefecture Assembly members are well in excess of actual costs, and now an Assembly committee is listening to the public outcry and recommends changes to the payment system.

A committee member says Assembly members have been paid double what transportation costs amount to, and in some cases, even more. The new price schedule will be based on bus fares from the Assembly memberís home district to Naha City, They note a 25km trip for example, costs about •8,000, far less than the flat fee members are paid.

Assembly members counter that the fee also includes per diem and petty cash fees, and that has stirred more anger and annoyance. Citizens are asking why per diem is paid, because Assembly members receive monthly pay. Theyíre demanding the system change. Assembly members from outlying areas such as Nago City contend they need some sort of guaranteed fee to cover their travel costs to Assembly meetings. They say that three-hour bus trips arenít any good.

The committee working on changes say the proposed system revisions will save taxpayers about •25 million annually, compared with the current system.

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