/ Modified may 13, 2013 8:56 a.m.

Legislature Goes On; Penalties Begin

Lawmakers take automatic cuts to per diem with 120th day of session

State lawmakers' pay will be cut this week as the session passes its 120th day Monday with no end in sight.

Automatic cuts in legislators' daily per diem payments are triggered at the 120th day. Legislators who live outside of Maricopa County get $60 a day per diem; Maricopa County legislators get $35. After Monday, the rates will go to $20 and $10.

Those payments are for temporary living and travel expenses while the Legislature is in session. Legislators also are paid $24,000 a year each in salary.

Republican leaders of the Legislature are in a standoff with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer over her proposal to expand Medicaid to an additional 300,000 poor Arizonans under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Brewer says the state would get billions over the next several years in federal money, at no cost to the general fund. Opponents say continuation of the federal payments isn't guaranteed and they add to the big federal debt and budget deficit.

The standoff has kept the Legislature from formulating a state budget for next fiscal year. That is the only constitutionally required business of lawmakers.

Last year, the budget was passed in April and the Legislature adjourned May 3.

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