Taxpayers have spent $2.5 million for the housing and travel costs of state lawmakers so far this year with some pols raking in thousands, records show.
The reimbursements cover mileage and other travel expenses to Albany and include $175 “per diems” for lodging and meals in the state capital for which no receipts are required.
The money spent through June 30, 2017, is just slightly less than the $2.7 million doled out all of last year, according to data released by the state Comptroller’s Office. The legislative session ended June 21.
The reimbursement system has been rife with abuse in the past and landed two lawmakers in prison.
Some pols score cheap hotel rooms with their per diems and pocket the difference. And, as The Post has reported, others own second homes in the capital, but are allowed to get the cash anyway.
Among the homeowners is Sen. Catharine Young, a Republican from upstate Olean, who topped the list of per diem recipients by collecting $14,700 through June 30. Young, whose district is in far western New York, owns a home outside Albany.
Three New York City lawmakers — Democrats Diane Savino, Leroy Comrie and Gustavo Rivera — tied for second place, collecting $11,725 each in per diems.
“Sen. Savino attends not only every session day, but every budget hearing on non-session days and her expenses could easily be matched up with the calendar,” said a spokeswoman for the lawmaker who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.
The payments are available to anyone living more than 50 miles from Albany.
Vivian Cook, a Queens Democrat, topped the per diem recipients among Assembly members. She raked in $18,562 and another $3,714.31 for mileage and tolls.
Cook collected more in per diems than Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who got $17,339, plus $953.76 for mileage and tolls.
She did not return a request for comment.
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, a Democrat from Long Island, received $16,372 in per diems for the first six months of this year compared to $9,775 for all of last year. She got another $6,219 for mileage, tolls, airline tickets and other travel expenses.
Her office did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2015, former Assemblyman William Scarborough, a Queens Democrat, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for submitting phony travel vouchers. He submitted more than $54,000 in bogus travel reimbursements.
And former Assemblyman William Boyland, a Brooklyn Dem, received a 14-year prison sentence in 2015 for multiple crimes including claiming he was in Albany so he could submit $70,000 in vouchers when he was actually on personal trips to North Carolina and Virginia.
Since 2015, lawmakers have had to prove they are actually in Albany to get their per diems, but other proposed reforms have gone nowhere.
Top ten recipients of per diem payments among members of the New York State Assembly and Senate through June 30: