The way the current system works, a lawmaker picks a car; the state buys it; then leases it back to the lawmaker. Taxpayers are left to pay the purchase price, insurance, gas and maintenance. Lawmakers pay part of the lease, but not all. The estimated average cost to taxpayers is $7,500 a year for each lawmaker who signs up.
But that will apparently change, after a vote by the California Citizens Compensation Commission. Beginning in December, lawmakers will have to return their state-funded cars. Instead, they'll get a $300 allowance each month to drive their own vehicles.
The office of Assembly Speaker John Perez says it will comply with the decision, but calls it "unfortunate" and "punitive." The Speaker worries about how lawmakers with huge, sprawling districts will be able to do their jobs.