Should We Only Have Part Time Legislators?

posted by John Baibak - 

One of the more entertaining things I get to do is appear once in awhile at schools and also there will be a lawmaker of some state or other.  The kids sometime want to know what we do during a day and when this happens I usually head toward the back of the room and send out for pizza because a state lawmaker will take awhile to explain all the things they do and how they do it, etc, etc.

Lost upon most state lawmakers is if they did nothing more than work on budget issues and passed no other law, then we would be in no worse shape than we are now.  

So, can someone explain to me how is it that both Massachusetts and Connecticut don’t have budgets that are signed sealed and delivered?

Was it a surprise that perhaps there was a budget due?  They will tell you the numbers kept changing.  Cut the budget.  I can add later.

Now admittedly, the Baystate is a bit better off.  They at least agree that there is a budget and a fiscal year that is just ahead and they are working toward a resolution in conference committee.  They won’t make the deadline which neither I nor a lot of people can understand.  Budgeting is the simple part.  Well for business people it is the simple part.  Take actuals from the last year, see what you need on top of that and go.

In Connecticut they are having a difficult time agreeing on the day of the week.  Republicans wouldn’t follow Democrats out of a burning building and Dems would have to think long and hard before they followed Reps anywhere.

Lost on them is the fact that they make a pretty good full time salary for a very part time job.  Think about it.  We have all this high priced talent under the dome.  If we need a decision made, they can make it I am sure.  Lawmakers think too much about re-election. 

Why can’t we just cut their pay.  Let them meet for six months out of the year and unless the world is ending tell them to stay away from the office.  But, this habitual calendar event where we have a budget to get done and we can’t make deadline is embarrassing no matter what the state.  My budget gets done.  I don’t have the support staff they do.  And, my budget is balanced under General Accounting Principles.  That’s something they can’t say.

William Feather once wrote, “A budget tells us what we can’t afford.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t buy it.”  

Mr Feather if memory serves was a publisher in Ohio.  I wonder if he was in the Connecticut or Massachusetts legislatures?

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