And the Redirection Effort Continues
Anthony poses a worthy question in the comments to my post on the RI House Finance Committee’s grilling of state department heads:
This is surreal. For years, the General Assembly filled state agencies with a “Family and Friends” plan that rivaled AT&T, raked Carcieri over the coals for wanting to “cut too much” and overrode gubernatorial vetos to pass bloated budget.
Now the same people are questioning spending of state agencies and trying to blame Carcieri?
Maybe it’s too much to ask, but shouldn’t somebody be pointing this out?
Oh, but the surreality gets worse, with today’s continuing reportage:
State officials hope to pump tens of millions of dollars into Rhode Island’s drowning economy in the coming months as part of a “mini stimulus package” that key lawmakers say would cost Ocean State taxpayers almost nothing.
The plan, disclosed yesterday in what was likely to be the last special meeting of the House Finance Committee, pushes the Carcieri administration to enroll more than 10,000 new food-stamp recipients in the next year, expedite unemployment insurance claims, and rush millions of dollars to stalled infrastructure projects across the state. …
The state stimulus package essentially urges the Carcieri administration to spend millions in federal dollars and already earmarked state funds as soon as possible. While some state departments struggle to limit discretionary spending, they also struggle to spend a pool of money that could help create thousands of jobs, improve bridges and roads, and boost tax revenue.
I caution readers that some of the quotations from legislators not reprinted here may induce nausea. A new question worth asking, however, is: How much of the “allocated” money is actually sitting in a bank account, somewhere, and how much is tied up with revenue that the state has not yet received as it spends $1 million per day that it does not have?
My favorite part is the note that the announcement came at what is “likely to be the last special meeting of the House Finance Committee.” This has set-up written all over it. “Yeah, you guys have to do more. We’ll be back next year.”