There’s a moral cost when our elected officials prevent fair legislative districts from being created, but it turns out there’s a financial cost as well. According to a report by Marie Albiges of the Daily Press, the special session called to redraw 11 racially gerrymandered districts cost taxpayers $40,000 even though the Republicans prevented any progress on the issue.
The main costs came from the $19,488 paid out in per diems paid out to 96 delegates for the session on August 30 and another $10,814 for mileage reimbursements to some of them. Another $6,600 in per diems and $2,251 in mileage reimbursements were paid out to 22 members of the Privileges and Elections Committee who met on September 27. In other words, members of the House of Delegates were paid $39,153 despite failing to come up with a bipartisan map.
While it doesn’t come close to the amount paid out to the legislators, there is also costs associated with drawing up the new districts. While the Republicans wouldn’t actually work across party lines despite efforts from the Democratic leadership to create a bipartisan solution, both parties had consultants who helped draw up proposals and they’ll want to be paid.
A Federal Court has ruled that a court appointed consultant will now redraw the districts since the House of Delegates couldn’t come up with a new map. Experts are telling the Daily Press the cost of these efforts will come out to at least $16,000 because the court appointed consultant working on the map, Bernard Grofman, will charge $400 an hour.
The over $55,000 that will be spent to redraw the maps pales in comparison to the $4 million the House Republican leadership had taxpayers pay to defend the current districts in court. All of this basically means having racially gerrymandered districts has cost Virginians a whole lot of money.