State lawmakers found one way Monday to save money: They cut their own living allowance - at least temporarily.
Having reached a deal in special session on education funding, legislative leaders agreed to continue to work behind closed doors later this week to try to resolve the rest of the issues. That includes possible new budget cuts as well as the demand by Gov. Jan Brewer to ask voters for a temporary sales tax hike.
And to do that, they agreed to keep the special session going.
But most lawmakers are not due back until next Monday.
Under state law, legislators are entitled to get $35 a day in per diem living allowances every day during a session. That includes not just Saturdays and Sundays, but even days they do not meet. Lawmakers from the 14 rural counties get $60 a day.
In fact, they collect seven days a week during the regular session, which tends to run Mondays through Thursdays.
Now, however, with most lawmakers meeting just once a week, legislative leaders decided against seven days a week of allowance.
"That was a 'headline' test,'' said Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria. "You guys (in the media) would have beat up on us if we had given per diem to people that weren't even here.''
Leaders of both parties involved in negotiations - including Burns - will get their allowance any day they come to the Capitol for talks.