Hampton – Snowden Mayo wrong on budget discussion openness

The current budget impasse at the Capitol has everyone in the frustrated zone.

People are mad, frustrated and generally confused and looking for someone or something to blame.

Last week, Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, a legislator who blogs regularly for us on clarionledger.com, said one of the reasons legislative conferees can’t reach an agreement on the budget is that the conference committee is open . Rep. John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, agreed in his blog.

Open discussion
Both are conscientious, committed legislators and strong advocates of open government. But, they are wrong here; open conferences are not the problem.

The Legislature generally is one of the more open government institutions. Appropriations conference committees had been the last bastion of closed meetings at the Capitol, but were opened in recent years. Generally conference committees are pretty boring . But with the budget on the line, every utterance of conferees during recent weeks has been closely monitored. Snowden thinks this has bogged down the process. The press is there to report and the lobbyists are there to pounce. That leads to posturing, he says.