Friday, May 30, 2008

Republican Sacrifice

You can always tell a repug. They're the ones who take the money budgeted for providing health care to impoverished little children and spend it on big-screen plasma TVs for their newly renovated offices.

Media Czech asks: Can we please start raising hell about this?


(John Cheves of the Herald Leader) exposes David Williams for the heartless buffoon that he is. As our budget is being sliced and diced: education, college tuition, public defender funds, special needs hospitals, keep going down the list... what are we spending possibly up to $1.4 million on:

The Kentucky Senate is renovating its offices at the state Capitol Annex in Frankfort, while public health programs, law enforcement, education and other state services face more cuts.

On Tuesday, the state requested bids for construction on the Annex’s second floor, to build new Senate offices, caucus rooms with kitchens, a press conference room and a Senate lounge.

The 5,250 square feet of space previously was used by executive branch agencies, which are slowly being evicted as the General Assembly claims more space in the Annex. New furniture, appliances and electronics will be purchased.

Senate President David Williams said he won’t know the project’s cost until bids are opened next week. But lawmakers can afford it.While the legislature this winter told Gov. Steve Beshear to cut $230 million from the executive branch’s $9.1 billion budget, it awarded itself 13 percent more over two years, taking it up to $55.6 million in 2010. It tucked about $1.4 million for capital projects into this year’s budget.

“We wish the 52,000 children eligible for health insurance coverage through KCHIP, but not enrolled because of inadequate funds, would receive the same level of attention as the 5,250 square feet of Senate office space now being renovated,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “The emphasis on these self-serving projects over the needs of real people is sadly becoming the norm.”

And can we start repeating this Williams quote over and over and over again?

Williams denied that state budget cuts are inflicting real pain. “We’re in relatively good shape with our state budget compared to what some other state governments are going through,” Williams said. Regarding the Health and Family Services Cabinet and the Justice Cabinet, both of which are reporting sweeping program cuts, he said, “You’re talking about people who you couldn’t print enough money for. I don’t accept the premise that they’re cutting anything to the bone.

”As for the Senate’s office improvements, Williams said, “You could go through a lot of things (in the state budget) and ask ‘Is this proper?’ or ‘Is that proper?’ But it’s in the budget for the legislature, and it needs to be done. ... We can’t shut down the legislature or fail to maintain the premises we have.”

Yes, because the legislature will shut down if you don't have your 60 inch plasma TV in your office and a luxurious Senate lounge.

Some of the into-the-bone basic-services cuts rumored to be under consideration by state agencies, but not yet announced, include:

  • Releasing non-violent felons from state prisons
  • Shutting down field services in rural counties, including child protection, health inspections and benefits assistance for seniors and veterans
  • Closing major facilities, including juvenile centers and nursing homes

But I'm sure abused kids, local police, homebound elders, disabled veterans and restaurant patrons are happy to sacrifice themselves so that the republican "leadership" of the Kentucky Senate can watch Britney Spears shake her tits in hi-def.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.