Knopp: All Oregon senators back bill to end out-of-state travel reimbursement

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Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp of Bend said Wednesday that all 30 Oregon state senators are sponsoring a bill calling for an end to taxpayer-funded travel reimbursements for state workers who live outside the state. And he says it has “impressive” bipartisan support in the House.

The travel reimbursement was a policy put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Knopp said the legislation — introduced Wednesday — is in response to a news report last year in the Willamette Week. That August 17, 2022 report found a Department of Administrative Services policy allowed state employees to work remotely in other states and have their travel reimbursed by taxpayers. You can read the full policy here.

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The article highlighted the cases of two high-level Oregon Lottery officials who both left the state in 2021 for Texas and Florida. Neither state has an individual income tax.

The report says each made just under $200,000 in salary. Travel costs for both in 2022, combined, were were just over $4,000.

“Last summer, I heard from taxpayers and state employees alike who were outraged at the practice of reimbursing travel for out-of-state, highly-paid government workers to be flown back to Oregon to do their job at taxpayer expense. It’s a fundamental equity issue. Most local state employees don’t get paid to commute to work,” Knopp said in a statement. “I’m thankful to have 29 Senate co-sponsors and impressive bipartisan support in the House. Now begins the work of advancing it through the process.”

Knopp said the bill is part of Senate Republicans’ “Equitable Oregon” agenda. 


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