So the legislature is off for Town Meeting Week. I saw Mayor Liz Gamache and Rep. Corey Parent at the polls at Saint Albans City Hall this morning. One committee that probably isn’t taking a break is the new GOP not-so-secret special committee combing through the budget.
House Minority Leader Rep. Don Turner (R-Milton) mentioned it matter-of-factly last week on Vermont Edition.
We have a committee working with our appropriations people, that started before the session began, and have started to scrub and comb through all areas of state government. We’ve initially focused on the high cost areas.
The VPO already covered how spectacularly ineffective this committee has been to date here. So, I’ll move on to talk about what’s on my mind: What does this new committee mean about the GOP’s faith in its own Appropriations committee members? Also, how does it relate to the rumored absence of members from their afternoon committee meetings (reported to me in hushed tones by several of my old statehouse friends)?
If you’re new in the Vermont House, especially a member of the minority party, then your only hope of being respected and effective is by showing your skills in committee. I’m not sure how less politically-inclined tax payers feel about having our legislators doing partisan work while their committees are meeting, but it ticks me off.
People who don’t respect the process in Montpelier do so at their own peril. If seasoned members of the Appropriations committee can’t find some juicy cuts to make to the budget then I seriously doubt that freshmen ditching their committees to comb through the budget will. If this new GOP committee really wants to serve their constituents they should work on some legislation and leverage the power of their committee assignments and respect their colleagues of all party affiliations on the Appropriations committee to do their jobs.