Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Budgeting on the Dark Side

So much of the state budget process is being conducted by the Democrats behind closed doors, it's a wonder some of the members haven't revolted just to gasp for fresh air. The Democrats have moved the process from a smoke-filled room to a smoke-free room, so I guess that's some progress.

Will they send up puffs of white smoke when they have a budget that can get fifty votes?

Over at the MacIver Institute, they've discovered two Democrats who have an expressed preference for legislating in the light:

"Now that Democrats are in the majority we have the opportunity to lead in a different and better way--I hope we rise to the challenge. We face the toughest economic climate since the Great Depression, the largest deficit in state history, and the task of sorting out billions of dollars in federal stimulus support. The very least we can do is open all of our debate to public view."

-State Representative Cory Mason.


[Rep. Louis] Molepske explained that granting selective access to bill drafts not only denies the public its right to open government, but gives special interests a distinct advantage in passing their legislative proposals, as committee hearings can be held within 24 hours of a bill's introduction, well before the public even has the opportunity to read, understand and submit testimony on the effects of a bill.

If Molepske and Mason won't force open the doors so the public can watch the budget deliberations, could they at least promise not vote for any budget that passes in the dark?