Monday, February 11, 2008

Is it really Pork?

As we watch the poker game at the roundhouse I can't help but think that the legislature with the help of Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish have called the Governors raise and now the Governor has to decide is he all in or does he check on the river? Or is it really the legislature that is drawing dead and the Governor holds the Ace in the hole in this battle?

All poker metaphor's aside it was very interesting to watch the battle over capital outlay money. Whenever one of these battles happen the media or the opponents takes to calling these projects "pork" or "pork barrel money" this has a bad connotation. However, the truth is that this is the very reason we have legislators who come from each district and county in the state. Each district elects their legislator and sends them to Santa Fe to represent not only the state as a whole but the district as well. It is their job to ensure that they return with their districts fair share of government projects. This is how jails, police stations, courts, library's, parks, colleges, schools, streets, bridges, sewer plants, water treatment plants, etc, etc, etc, get built. If your legislator was ineffective in getting these things for your county, city or district they would not last long.

The same newspaper reporter who writes about "pork" is the same one who will just as quickly write a story about an ineffective legislator who can't get anything done. Yes sometimes legislators fund some bad things. Money for parties, roads that are on private lands, and other embarrassing funding bills. On the other hand most of these capital outlay projects are needing in the communities where they are funded. Providing these basic services and infrastructure is exactly why we have a government in the first place. Otherwise the colonists would have kicked England out and just stayed without any organized government at all. No country has been able to flourish without some sort of government and never will.

So back to Governor Richardson and the New Mexico Legislature. I have some advice for the Governor, Sometimes you lay down the winning hand.

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