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GannettUSA Today

Monday, July 10, 2006

No time for an all-nighter

Among the many things that should not be lost about the state budget shenanigans last week is the silliness of the Senate passing the final document about 4:50 a.m. Saturday while the Assembly cleared it at 5:38 a.m. All-nighters are for college papers or test prepping, not for $31 billion budgets.

How deliberative could the process be for our 120 legislators when they get the figures in the middle of the night? How carefully could the most diligent among them study the many line items? So they have to rely on their party leaders to tell them what to do. That's unfair. Residents elected their district's legislators to represent them; they didn't vote for the political puppeteers with fancy titles like Senate president or minority leader or Assembly speaker or minority leader.

The Republicans are taking the lead with suggestions to reform the budget process. How about one to provide a five-day period between the introduction and final vote, to give legislators -- and the public -- a chance to fully study and question the budget? If it would diminish the party leaders' role, then so be it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea, Larry.

11:46 AM, July 11, 2006  

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