The notion that partisans in either the House or Senate would be carping and griping about anyone’s travel plans after the Legislature has failed to craft a budget some six months after the start of the 2009 regular session is laughable, lame and late.
If one counts the Joint Legislative Budget Committee hearings, the Legislature has been actively working on the overdue state budget since last September – some nine months ago.
Now, with Gov. Haley Barbour confirming that he’s going to (gasp!) keep his out-of-state travel commitments the last week of June, Democrats are extrapolating that Barbour’s travel that week will somehow keep the Legislature from accomplishing what they’ve been unable to accomplish for the last six-to-nine months.
Barbour said Wednesday that he would honor prior commitments to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire in late June when lawmakers are expected to be back at the Capitol working on a budget for fiscal 2010 which begins July 1. Both states are key in GOP fundraising efforts for presidential candidates in 2012.
“It strikes me as an abdication of responsibility, especially since he insists on dictating terms of any budget compromise,” said state Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, a key House budget negotiator. State Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, was even more pointed.