Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Fingers In The Soup
For years lawmakers and this governor have had very little new money to splash around. Soon they will be swimming in $7 billion, if not more, compliments of the new guy in the White House. Talk about your Christmas in February. The question is who gets what? They tell us that the most important factor in the decision making process is the "shovel in the ground notion" i.e. the money will go where the jobs can be created yesterday. But even before the money arrives, there's an internal dispute over who has the final say. Senate GOP Mike Bishop wants his republican controlled appropriations committee to weigh in. However when Bishop approached the subject in a public forum the other day, the House Democratic Speaker demurred. Rep. Andy Dillon said he wanted to see more facts which is legislative code for, "No way, Jose." He told an audience of association executives he had seen the budget process two years ago disintegrate and he did not want to wait around until September to spend this money. "Use it or lose it," was his mantra. If the governor thinks she should have the final word on the allocation, it's safe to say the R's will object to that. When you have $7 bil to spread around the temptation is to funnel a hunk of it into legislative districts where local lawmakers may have a tough time getting reelected next time. There is nothing like a nifty ribbon cutting ceremony for a new project to help cement a local pol's future with the voters back home. The gov. knows that, the Speaker and Majority leader know that and so do the 148 lawmakers. Which means everyone will want their fingers in the federal stimulus soup and what's that old saying about too many cooks spoiling the broth?