SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois Policy Institute, a government watchdog group, says Illinois state legislators could save the taxpayers lots of money on their personal expenses.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, Keith Rasmussen of the institute tells the Daily Herald that legislators could save money by taking trains or carpooling.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

The newspaper reports that it costs taxpayers $111 for every day a state lawmaker spends in Springfield. In total, the costs for lawmakers commuting to Springfield – the $111 allowance combined with mileage – cost $1,709,703 last year, the Daily Herald reported.

Legislators are permitted 39 cents per mile for their driving expenses to Springfield.

Lawmakers argue that taxpayers don’t expect them to pay for their own mileage and expenses and in Springfield. They also say the reimbursements allow anyone to serve in elected office.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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