Tuesday, September 6, 2016

One last Look at Luck

I received the quarterly update from my State Rep this past week.  In it, he did as all politicians do, listed the achievements of the past legislative session, while also explaining a few of his votes.  While I rarely agree with my representative, I am grateful that he communicates in this way to his constituency.  Also, it can be very revealing when reading his words as they sometimes reveal more than perhaps, is intended.

In this last update, my rep stated with pride that the 2016-17 budget was passed without the long delay which occurred last year, that it was balanced without broad based tax increases, education funding was increased, and that many long standing issues were addressed.  He also detailed the committees he is serving on, a list which includes Aging and Older Adult Services, Education, and Human Services.

Of course, two of the biggest issues facing our legislature, pension reform and infrastructure funding, were not mentioned in his summary.  Certainly, those issues will not be easy to address, as they will require additional revenue, and raising taxes is never an easy option to defend but is an easy target to attack as evidenced by our Governor's proposals to raise a number of taxes to address those issues, proposals which were dead in the water since the make-up of our legislature is 2 to 1 in favor of the other party.  There is no easy answer to either of these issues, so rather than leading, our legislature continues to act with the hope that when those difficult votes occur, they won't be the ones to have to make the difficult decisions.

Curiously, my rep specifically mentioned that $675 million dollars was cut from the governor's welfare programs.  One would think that balancing the budget on the backs of those with the least would not be a bragging point.  In conjunction with his party's insistence that the natural gas industry not be levied an extraction tax, a tax that would probably have helped maintain the $675 million dollars he is so proud to have cut, not to mention may have provided hundreds of millions of dollars for other needed issues, at least the GOP is consistent with its overall philosophy that those with less, those who have had unforeseen accidents, lost the birth lottery, or otherwise did not succeed per the yardstick of money and influence, deserve their fate, while those with more, those who have been blessed with parents of wealth or power, those who have been fortunate enough to have been rewarded for their hard work while avoiding the accidents of life that derail others' attempts to improve their lot, should continue to receive all the advantages that big money and special interests can buy.

I often wonder, assuming God judges us on how we treated those with the greatest need rather than those with the greatest purse, if the men and women who are so boisterous in their public flogging of the "lazy poor" will be tortured with the vision of the children, the disabled, and the mentally and physically ill who were dependent on their good will but were sacrificed at the altar of avarice and pride.

And I also wonder if more people in my district who read my rep's update, thought it fine and dandy to have cut that money from welfare programs or were struck by the hypocrisy of someone who was proud to be serving on committees which "impact some of the most vulnerable members of our communities" yet who extolled the cutting of so much money for those very people.



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