Interesting bit of byplay from last night’s hearing on possible E-911 dispatch closures, as captured by Freeploid newbie Paris Achen, who is one “a” away from being the only Vermont reporter named after two European cities:
Rep. Job Tate, R-Mendon, stood at the entrance of the House chamber and handed out Lifesavers “for life savers.”
Now, I would expect Republicans, being Republicans after all, to oppose revenue increases. But here is Mr. Tate, grandstanding his opposition to a modest budget cut.
This is the party that believes we should take a meataxe to the budget — that Democrats are guilty of out-of-control spending.
Of course, this is also the party that has failed to identify any cuts of its own, aside from its persistent call for dismantling Vermont Health Connect. You know, the proposal with the Incredible Shrinking Savings: originally $20 million, now $8 million.
I’ve heard other rumblings of this behavior by some Republican lawmakers, but this is the first concrete example I’ve seen in the media. It strikes me as highly cynical and deliberately obstructive.
The Republicans like to claim they’re different from their national colleagues — that they adhere to the Vermont Way of civility and cooperation in politics, trying to serve the best interests of the state. Well, actively opposing real budget cuts while issuing vague calls for undefined budget cuts is a piss-poor way of doing so.
Bonus: Tate’s rationale for opposing the E-911 consolidation was tissue-thin.
“For us, the local knowledge of the area is important to directing troopers to the right location,” Tate said.
Consolidation would remove some of the local knowledge about remote areas of the state, he said.
Yuh-huh. You’re telling me that efficient dispatch service depends on local knowledge? It’s not like we’ve got dispatchers in every town and on every hilltop. The current system has four dispatch centers. FOUR. In a state like Vermont, the unique value of “local knowledge” dissipates awfully quickly. It’s hard to see how we’d lose critical “local knowledge” when we’re cutting from four to two.