Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Something fishy on Capitol Hill

Act Now to Stop this Irresponsible Wasteful Spending.

Members of the State Legislature left Nashville last Thursday for the Memorial Day weekend without passing a budget. They reconvene tomorrow. Normally they would not be coming back to town. They would have passed the budget before Memorial Day and would have ended the legislative session. The only point of disagreement keeping them from passing a budget was whether or not to fund $16.9 million to build a fish hatchery in Carter County, the district represented by House Speaker Kent Williams. The hatchery would create 22 new state jobs.

The State House is supporting the measure but not the Senate. The State and House must reconcile their differences in order to pass a budget. The almost evenly divided State House is nominally in the hands of Republicans, however Republican Kent Williams became speaker of the House though a back-door deal engineered by Democratic Representative Gary Odom. When electing the speaker, all of the Democrats supported Republican Kent Williams and he voted for himself thus denying the seat to Jason Mumpower who was the Republican choice for speaker who lost by one vote. As part of this deal, Democrats maintained control of some House Committees. So, in essence the Republicans are opposing the fish hatchery and the Democrats are supporting it.

Glen Casada the Republican House Caucus Chairman and the de facto Republican leader in the house has been very outspoken in his opposition to the fish hatchery provision in the budget. "We on our side, the republicans, Ron Ramsey, felt like the fish hatchery is a pork barrel project and a $16 million waste of taxpayers money and we won't give on that,” says Casada.

Democratic leader Mike Turner, on the other hand, defends the project saying, "If this isn't the time to help the people of the State of Tennessee, somebody tell me when is.”

Justin Owen with the non-partisan government watchdog group, Tennessee Center for Policy Research says the fish hatchery is pure pork. "You do the math. That's about $768,000 a job. Obviously the people who work there aren't going to get paid that. The rest is government waste," says Owen.

Democrats who sanctimoniously paint republicans as willing to let children die because Republicans did not include funding for an infant mortality study in the budget have gone to the mat for the fish hatchery funding but not for the infant mortality study funding they profess to care so much about. Many would conclude the fish hatchery is a reward to Kent Williams for being a Benedict Arnold.

The fish hatchery was the only issue keeping the legislature from reaching agreement on a budget last Thursday, but today I heard a state law maker speak who said that now the whole budget process has broken down and everything is back on the table. By law, the state budget has to be in place by July 1. If a budget is not in place by that date I am not sure exactly what happens, but I assume the state government shuts down and employee will not be paid.

Now is the time to write your state Representative and urge them to do the responsible thing and pass a state budget without this wasteful spending project. At the same time the state is laying off 850 state employees it does not need to be spending $17 million dollars on an unnecessary project to reward Kent Williams.

To find out who your Representative is and how to contact your Representative follow this link: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/members.

Source of quotations is a News Channel 5 report.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment