Monday, March 02, 2009

Small steps....

Here on the blog, in my column and ineditorials in the paper, I've stated that Democrats in Hartford, and in particular, the Democratic leadership, has not shown much of a willingness to make the tough budget cutting decisions that need to be made -- paerticularly in terms of reducing state spending.

I think it's fair criticism -- they haven't.

However, I also like to be fair. Today, Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, announced that the Senate Democratic caucus was returning $400,000 of its funding allocation to the General Treasury in response to the ongoing state budget crisis. It's a small amount in terms of the $4.7 million the caucus has to run its operation -- but it's a start. It's the first real reduction in spending the Democratic leadership has made.

Some might argue it's a token gesture. It is, but no more so that the governor suggesting she's take a day off without pay (in order words work, but not the paycheck for that day) and asking her commissioners to do the same. Those "small' gestures won't make a dent in the revenue shortfall. But they are at least an acknowledgement of the problem -- something members of the General Assembly haven't cleary demonstrated up to this pont that they get. Maybe, they're now starting to get it.

That would be nice, because time is runing out and there's still a lot more work that needs to be done -- and it needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Williams said that the caucus is continuing to look for other cost saving measures, and hopes to return a full 10 percent to the general fund....that's would be $470,000.

That would be nice....but the deficits we're facing are in the billions....and Williams and the other Democrats need to start looking more seriously on where those savings are going to come from.

5 Comments:

Blogger scv-matt said...

Some might argue it's a token gesture. It is, but no more so that the governor suggesting she's take a day off without pay (in order words work, but not the paycheck for that day) and asking her commissioners to do the same.

It is actually much less of a token gesture than the Governor's -- her day without pay returned just under $500 to the general fund. To even be proportional, she would have to work for 36 days without pay. And, you know, show up for work a little more (so long as we're talking sacrifice.)

I wonder, though -- Republicans actually get a much larger staff budget per Senator or State Rep. Will you call on them to drop their staff funding to a level on par with the Democrats?

4:45 PM  
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

When I ask my legislators when the Dems are going to come out with a plan, they keep saying "When the legislative committees complete their hearings, some time in early April." The mantra is that the proposal will be realistic and substantive because the legislature will have heard from all interested parties (at least those who are able to make it to Hartford for a hearing).
This may not be a sat answer for those of us looking for action now but it is their story and they are sticking to it. It certainly possible that at the end of March or early April, the Legislature and its leaders will come out with a plan that will be awe-inspiring.. but then again, sausage making is not very pretty.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Ray Hackett said...

Sometimes I just have to laugh. Mccommas thinks I favor Democrats and constantly attack Republicans, and scy-matt wants to know if I'm going to go after Republicans the way i went after Democrats.

For the record, I favor people who use common sense and are willing to work with anyone because a job needs to be done. So far, I haven't seen a lot of that in Hartford this year, and I could care less what their party affiliation is.

3:57 PM  
Blogger scv-matt said...

I wasn't calling you out for bias, I was pointing you in the direction of a somewhat alarming discrepancy, so long as we were on the subject of caucus staff budgets.

4:13 PM  
Blogger scv-matt said...

Though I'm not in the paper's delivery area -- if that's a subject you've already covered, I'd be interested in seeing your article on it.

4:16 PM  

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