Feb 27, 2007

Top Secret budget plan stays secret

Deep Throat speaks, sort of. Actually, he speaks, but he says nothing.

The much-ballyhooed article in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus today on the Senate Republican’s Top Secret, for-your-eyes-only proposed budget plan is long on rhetoric and short on specifics. The plan is so secret and the Republicans are so afraid of the public to see what they plan to cut that Republican members of the Appropriations Committee and GOP staffers have been told not to write any of it down to keep it as confidential as possible. On penalty of death, I assume.

However, our own Sen. Valde “Deep Throat” Garcia – AKA Colonel Obvious – spilled the beans. Without divulging specifics, Garcia said the Republican plan relied on spending cuts as well as "accounting procedures" such as spending delays and shifts.

The article was written by Rich Perlberg, the executive editor for the newspaper and the former general manger of Hometown Newspapers, and it’s surprising that a good, veteran journalist let him get away with not revealing a single program they plan to cut.

“Our proposal protects the foundation allowance (for schools), but I can't guarantee that it will stay that way," Garcia said. That's because some of the Republican-recommended cuts are in areas the governor may want to protect.

As part of a plan to make-up a $3 billon shortfall in the state budget without even deeper cuts in essential services that residents depend on, the Governor proposed her budget almost a month ago that calls for a combination of spending cuts and a 2 penny investment on previously untaxed services. For the average family that will mean an increase of about $65 a year, or a $1.33 cup of coffee a week. The Senate Republicans rejected the plan without one of their own more than two weeks ago, and the actual cuts the GOP plan must make on top of the $4 billon in spending cuts the governor has already made since 2002 is the closest guarded secret since the Manhattan Project.

Tell us what the planned cuts are. Is that so hard? The Governor told the public what she must cut, and she has been battered by the press, interest groups and the public for it, yet the Republicans refuse to tell us what cuts they will make that will be much deeper and painful than the Governor’s cuts.

I guess me know why they are keeping it a secret as long as they can.

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