Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D.: Sometimes the value of something is nowhere worth what it costs.
We think that is the case of the recent debate over whether the state should pick up the tab for memberships and travel for all legislators to go to the American Legislative Exchange Council conferences.
First the background: Lawmakers haven’t paid for travel and membership to professional groups for a while because of budget cuts. This year, they approved a $500,000 budget for trips, deciding that the money would go to $50 memberships for everyone to ALEC, and that travel to one conference would be allowed.
But Democrats in the Legislature have asked that the state not buy those memberships for them because they see ALEC as a conservative group dominated by Republicans and corporations.
No matter where you are politically, it’s clear that the state shouldn’t buy memberships for everyone to belong to ALEC. It’s ridiculous that state taxpayers would pay those fees.
It’s fine for lawmakers to pay their own membership and travel to any professional conference they choose, no matter who sponsors it. This group’s membership and conferences just are not something for which the taxpayer should be billed.