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The Senate’s crazy speed budgeting process

 
State Budget graphic

What the heck is going on at the General Assembly? To observe this morning’s kangaroo session of the Senate Appropriations Committee (currently recessed) is a little like watching/listening to the student council at a small high school make its budget for the coming year.

First, the Senators dispensed with decades of common sense practice by eliminating subcommittee consideration of the budget and then the group raced through a list of speakers who’ve been charged with the task of talking like tobacco auctioneers to to make their comments fit the absurd couple of minutes they’ve been allotted.

Now the committee chairs are allotting themselves all of a half-hour to review proposed amendments (which, as always, must conform to absurd rules that make real amendment virtually impossible). After that, they’ll race through the amendments and undoubtedly defeat anything half-way intelligent on a voice vote. Then, it’ll be quickly onto the floor for more of the same.

Naturally, the bill is chock full of “special provisions” — i.e. bills that haven’t passed in the way they’re supposed to. Many of them are enormously important matters like the proposal to turn our K-12 system into a knock-off of the less successful system used in Florida…Florida!! 

There’s only one term that really describes it: “speed budgeting.” And it is a disgraceful excuse for democratic governance.

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