Bob Haase Another Can Of Worms

Budget Bill


How many people read the budget bill?  I don’t think most of our representatives or their staff read the entire budget bill.  Part of the reason is the size of it.  It gets even bigger when things are added that have no fiscal implications.  The larger the bill gets the easier it is to slip things into it that really do not belong there.

One example was the addition to the budget bill that would have exempted our representatives from abiding to the open records law as it exists today.  This would have given them the ability to meet, discuss, and make decisions without the public knowing about what was said or done.  The problem is that they got caught and nobody want to take credit for putting it into the bill.  It just didn’t get there by itself… someone had to write it and submit it.

This is huge because while our representatives talk about transparency in government it is getting to be just the opposite.  They do not want us to know what is going on and they can get by with it because most of us don’t seem to care anyway.  I don’t see many people upset about them trying to get rid of the open records law requirements so they can do things behind closed doors without us knowing about it. The decisions they make affect each and every one of us and we have a right to know what they are doing.

Because of this and other matters like this there is less and less trust in our government.  This is important because as we negotiate with other countries on matters of nuclear weapons control and other important security issues trust is vital.  If we don’t trust our own government why should we expect other countries to. 

Every year more and more items are attached to the budget bill that have no fiscal implications.  There is not one legislator that is willing to submit a bill that would prohibit items without fiscal implications to be included in the budget bill.  This is the way they can sneak things through without us and even other representatives knowing about it.

The name “Budget Bill” implies that the material in the budget bill is related to the budget.  If the budget bill was restricted to only items with fiscal implications it would be a lot smaller.  It would be harder to hide stuff in there that shouldn’t be there. 

It is time for change.  Items that have no fiscal implications should require a separate bill and be debated and voted on out in the open for everyone to see.  All items with no fiscal implications should be required by law to be removed from the bill.  Give me one good reason why things not related to the budget should be included in the budget bill. 

Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.