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Dallas County commissioners voted Tuesday to grant an exception to the county’s $125 per night lodging reimbursement rate.

The exception was given to Judge Jim Foster, who did not bust the cap by tens or even a hundred dollars but spent 3 times the per night reimbursement amount.

That’s right Mr. Foster, who traveled to Austin in order to testify before a Senate Committee in February stayed at the lavish Hotel Intercontinental, the going rate $359 a night.

Foster excused his action saying, “there are not a whole lot of cheap hotel rooms during the session.” Though I appreciate the lesson on the economies of hotel rooms during session this reasoning hardly warrants staying in one of the nicest hotels in the city.

This inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars and others similar are why local officials are coming under fire and taxpayers are demanding more transparency.

During these tough economic times spending needs to be closely scrutinized and who better to do it than the ones paying the cost.