DR1 - Legislators in the DR have not had a work session in weeks, and news reports say these are not scheduled for until after the election to allow the politicians to campaign for their presidential candidates in their jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, TV investigative journalist Alicia Ortega reports this week on the high cost of the legislators to Dominican taxpayers. She pointed out on her El Informe con Alicia program that Congress in the Dominican Republic is the most costly in the Americas, on a per citizen base. She said the RD$5. 44 billion the government has allocated to Congress means each citizen pays US$15 a year to the pockets of the legislators.
The legislators were elected for six-year period in 2010. She says over the period, their budget will be over RD$33 billion.
She says the US$139 million cost for the DR is above that of Peru that pays US$110. 9 million, Costa Rica with US$76. 2 million and Uruguay with US$63. 8 million.
On a per capita base, the DR pays more than Venezuela, which although a country of 27 million compared to nine million in the DR, only spends US$13 per inhabitant.
For the report, Ortega used data provided by the Center for Research and Development of Education (CIDE) in Chile.
She made the point that the president of the Senate and three other senators monthly receive an extra of RD$900,000 allocated to enable them to make "social contributions". The rest of the legislators receive in addition to their high wages between RD$710,000 and RD$450,000. This adds up to RD$229 million in discretionary funds plus the additional RD$68 million in wages. She makes the point that the president of the Senate, Reinaldo Pared Perez (PLD-National District) receives a wage of RD$175,000 plus the RD$900,000 of the so-called "barrilito" a month. He is thus guaranteed at least RD$77. 4 million for his six-year contract in the Senate.
The 178 national deputies receive RD$87,000 for social compensation, RD$50,000 for support to legislative work, RD$35,000 for representation expenses, and RD$45,000 for diet, plus their legislative wage of RD$175,000 for an annual wage of RD$1. 05 billion a year, as reported in Diario Libre. There are 32 senators and 178 national deputies in the DR.
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