Per a letter sent to all special pioneers in the US:
Previously the Society reimbursed the special pioneers at a flat rate of X cents per mile, to cover the cost of gasoline and maintenance on their cars. If I recall correctly, it may even have been the standard IRS allowable deduction, something like 40-50 cents per mile.
Beginning in 2010, the Society will reimburse for mileage only, and strictly follow a mathematical formula, using:
1) The actual number of miles driven in a month
2) The "average price of gasoline" in the area where the sp. pio. lives
3) The actual number of miles per gallon the sp. pio.'s car gets (not making this up!)
The Society determines item no. 2, the sp. pio. has to send in items 1 and 3 to the Society. Oh, and the limit on miles allowed for reimbursement is 13,000 per year - not sure what the limit, if any, was in the past.
Per the letter, this will result in a drop in reimbursement for the sp. pios., so they are encouraged to car-pool (still not making this up!)
Yes indeedy, our dear sweet special pioneers, if you weren't bitter enough about being kicked out of Bethel involuntarily, being forced to go out in service 130 hours per month when you likely didn't used to do that much in a year, and then trying to live on $600 per month, this ought to do the trick!
More evidence that the Society is really really hurting for money - cash flow, at least.