Friday, October 30, 2009

World Is Ending Because of Legislature

Ok Ok, not really. But I halfway expect that to be the next headline from the Gov. Bill Richardson administration, given the releases that have come out so far this week. Each missive talks about the terrible impact that budget cuts approved by the Legislature would have on state government if Richardson were to sign them. In short, they are giant fingers of blame pointed directly at lawmakers.

Today brought the news that state parks would close and workers in that division would be furloughed because of the cuts. In some places, training for fire fighters and fire departments would be reduced, the department said.

On Tuesday, the administration said the plan would mean reductions in children's health care, nutrition programs for seniors and programs for the developmentally disabled, if the governor were to sign the measures.

On Wednesday, it said that going with lawmakers' decisions would mean closing two state prisons, releasing up to 660 prisoners and laying off or furloughing state workers.

And, on Thursday, statements issued by both the Long-Term Services Department and the Children, Youth and Families Department raised more concerns about the impact of budget cuts, saying they would mean "many more seniors will go hungry" and would "threaten the safety of children and families in every corner of the state," among other things.

The more the releases like this continue, the more talk there is that Richardson will veto the whole budget -- or at least the 7.6 percent cuts to state agencies. It's unclear where that would leave us. But many lawmakers I've talked to say they are sick of -- and can see through -- what they say are scare tactics by the administration.

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