Friday, April 08, 2005

Political Capital, more on spending it wisely

Yesterday, the Governor conceded that the public employee pension issue was going to be (in the nicest of terms) put off a bit. Needless to say the opposition is patting itself on the back. At the beginning of this set of fights there were three comments - somewhat contradictory. The first was that the Governor had bitten off more than he could chew. contribution of less than $200 million to more than $2 billion in a couple of years - there is something out of whack. But having a provision that seemingly leaves widows and orphans out in the cold - especially for public safety is just plain dumb. The long term trend in pensions should be away from defined benefit plans. Compensation to state employees is generous in current terms and outrageous in future terms when pensions are added in. But the thing needed a bit more thought.

What is annoying about this is that it is predictable. The consultants are pocketing lots of dough but is the public policy agenda moving forward? In recent weeks the opponents of redistricting - another of the Governor's priorities - have done an ad that disingeniously argues that we should watch out for the judges who took God out of the pledge. The groups sponsoring the ad are the people who want those judges in place. Go figure.

The saving grace is that the opponents still look weak and with the right management of issues - the Governor might be able to yank us into progress.

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