That Time Off With Pay Thing Again
Last summer in the midst of legislative efforts to solve a $1.8
billion budget hole, legislative leaders pulled a fast one.
Instead of just being straight up with everyone about leaving
town for most of the summer, they created the impression that for at
least one day a week, they would return to town to do the citizen's
It was a ruse. When the appointed days came, they went by the
boards as no one showed.
At this point in this rant, one is obliged to trot out the
standard company line that leadership always uses when the issue of
time out of Lansing is brought up by the media.
"Just because we are not in Lansing does not mean we are not back
home working on state issues," is the time-honored explanation. And
for all we know it may be correct but last time anyone checked, there
was no way to check what lawmakers were actually doing "back in the
And short of assigning 148 capitol correspondents to spend each
day with each lawmaker back home, we will never know; so guess we will
just have to trust the leaders. (Yeah, that is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h isn't
Now comes Spring Break 2010.
The state is facing another budget crisis as long as your arm and
leg glued together. There are no agreements on how to fix it other
than a commitment, in principle, to get the job done by July first.
Hence there is no rush; why should anyone fret about taking two weeks
off and besides the Speaker of the House asserts that "committees will
be meeting" during the break?
Two weeks ago Speaker Andy Dillon was asked if there would be a
spring break? He said he did not know leaving the impression that,
sensing the urgency of the state's fiscal pickle, he just might keep
everyone in town instead.
Silly, silly senior capitol correspondent.
You could almost hear all the lawmaker's children, spouses and
others who were demanding time off. What is a poor lawmaker to do? If
you have family values, you must be true to those and take the time off.
Besides, no one was going to resolve this budget mess anyway right
now, so what the hey!
What's a little more time off. Heck everyone will come back
refreshed and will get this assignment done before July first.
Right! Any you know what will freeze over, too!