Wednesday’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing was quite a show. Literally. I mean, a parent with developmentally disabled children, a blind 13-year old boy…in other words a handful of good people who will be adversely affected by Chris Christie’s proposed mid-year cuts.
I suppose if the Democrats think Christie isn’t playing fair by governing through “fiat” then they too can deliver a forceful blow back. It’s hard after all when you meet someone who really needs whatever modest help he or she is getting from the state and conclude that they don’t deserve it. ( Take that! You whiny advocates for mental health!!! )
On Thursday, the Senate’s State Government Committee took public testimony on the pension reform bills. I was expecting to see more of show here, but it wound up being a tad undramatic. The unions criticized the proposals although in a more muted fashion. I suppose they know that reform is inevitable and since the bills do not really force changes for current employees, they might as well take the hit and hope that whatever is going on in the Assembly will produce comparable bills that leave currents harmless.
What was curious about the new-and-improved Senate committee ( which now includes wagering, tourism and historic preservation ) was that Shirley Turner was absent. Officially I was told that she was busy since the committee doesn’t normally meet on this day. But some conspiracy theorists opined that she was not on board with these bills, and might therefore have agreed or even been pressured to take the day off. After all, the only way Democrats can stand up to their constituents in the unions is if they speak with one voice. Why should Turner get a pass and be allowed to vote against? Needless to say, with substitute Barbara Buono sitting on the committee in Turner’s absence, the four bills cleared unanimously.
Programming note: In case you were wondering about the previous post’s title “Yes I can…as long as the Democrats say it’s OK” that is indeed a ‘Spinal Tap’ reference. It’s a play on Bruno Kirby’s speech to the band about what the name of Sammy Davis Jr.’s autobiography should actually be titled.