Sunday, April 22, 2018

Funny dreams

It's hard to decide if the Republicans in the legislature are sleepwalking or if they are just playing possum with their eyes open. Either way they do seem to  be treating the budget process like some sort of dream. How else does one justify a billion dollars plus worth of cuts to health care unless one doesn't believe any of this is real?
Both Harris and Appropriations Chair Cameron Henry said the state didn’t have enough money to fund promised services. Both said they would back “revenue-raising measures,” i.e. taxes, in a special session expected to be called in mid-May.

But this exercise was part of a process to give lawmakers a much firmer grasp on how much would be needed, both Henry and Harris insisted.

The size of the fiscal cliff has shrunk since the first special session. "The number is getting smaller and smaller," Henry said.

“This is what a responsible budget looks like — dealing with the actual figures, the actual money that's available to the state today,” Harris said after the vote. “While not perfect — there is still a lot of work to do — we passed a budget, and it’s on its way to the Senate to finish work on the budget using the funds that we have today.”

What happens in the state Senate is still up in the air. Senators could rearrange the funding and cut different programs. Or they could stall and wait for a special session.
See we're not actually voting on a budget here. We're just voting on a hypothetical idea of what a budget looks like. The actual budget will get done in the Senate or in the Special Session we kept screaming that we didn't want. Anyway somebody else will do it. This is a dream. In here we can do anything we want.

Of course it must tell us something that this horror show budget is the sort of thing the House radicals dream about.
More than 46,000 people who are elderly and disabled are expected to lose their nursing home slots and 24-hour home health care services in a little over two months if the House budget plan becomes law. The popular TOPS college scholarship would only be funded at 80 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.
Why would anyone want to live in that nightmare? If this is the dream budget, why not dream big? We're trying to pass a budget now with the knowledge that we will have to come back and fund it later, so let's shop for the things we actually need. That way, when we want to claw back some of the money we waste on things like enterprise zones we can say with some confidence that we're going to put that into hospitals.

The nice thing about a dream budget is that it gives everybody a chance to say what they really believe in without any of those nagging pragmatic political consequences to worry about, right?
The House budget passed with just two votes to spare in the Republican-controlled chamber. The vote fell mostly along political party lines. Only one Democrat, New Orleans Rep. Neil Abramson, voted for the budget with the Republicans. Eight Republicans voted with Democrats against the proposal. The three independents in the House split on the spending plan, with two voting against the budget and one voting for it.
Neil has got some funny funny dreams.

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