I’d use the word ditzy–“flighty and easily confused”–to describe the Republican leadership of the House Budget Committee if it weren’t for the second part of the definition: “mildly or harmlessly eccentric.” I asked a non-ditz to explain why Icet and Stream aren’t “harmless”.
SMP: OK, this is Representative Rachel Storch of St. Louis, and Rachel, could you tell us what you’ve observed this session about how House Republicans have zig zagged on the budget without apparent direction?
Storch: [inaudible] It seems like every couple of weeks we discover a new plan from the Republican majority about what they want to do with budget funds and stimulus funds. At the beginning of the session, they were talking about not accepting stimulus funds at all and sending it back to Washington where it would probably be allocated to other states. Then, as of four or five weeks ago, they had passed a bill through the budget committee that spent a billion and a half dollars. Three days later, they reversed course and said they wanted to scratch that bill and pass legislation that would implement a billion dollar tax cut with stimulus funds. And then just last week, they reversed course once again and did pass a stimulus budget bill for about $780 billion, uh, million dollars, excuse me.
The larger issue is that we’re not doing the kind of long term planning and due diligence that we should be when we have the opportunity we do coming out of Washington with the federal stimulus. I would like to see some money set aside for next year. We don’t know how quickly the economy is going to turn around, and the stimulus funds Missouri receives are supposed to last for 27 months. So not only should we be setting some money aside for that proverbial rainy day, but in addition to that, I think we really want to take a long, hard look at our top priorities and make sure that we are using those funds to best invest in the kind of large scale infrastructure projects that we might not have an opportunity to do in a normal year.
But with these stimulus funds, we can really take action to strengthen our long term future as a state. And that’s what the people of Missouri deserve from their policy makers, that kind of deliberation, the best possible policy making, with an eye toward both short term stimulation of the economy and job creation, but also long term planning.