Voters Angry Over Budget Process

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"Basically they're not doing what they got to do," One man said of lawmakers.

"We've been here before, they've been locked before. It's not looking good," A female voted said.

We caught up with those people on September 21, 2009. About a week later, the budget deadline came and went with no agreement and the state shutdown for a second time.

Flash forward one year later, similar circumstances, same feelings.

"It's a mess, it really is," Christine Anderson said. "It's a mess."

"I definitely have to make deadlines at school and work," MSU student Jacob Smith. "They need to get started earlier."

Lawmakers have passed several budgets so far this year, but the sticking point is the proposal on the table to offer early incentives for state employees to retire.

"They can always agree on numbers but when it gets into specifics like the retirement issues, that's when unions put pressure on members in the House," Political Consultant Dave Doyle, of Marketing Resource Group, said. "That's when you've got a problem."

If they can't agree on that issue, they'll have to find $60 million in savings somewhere else, and they'll have to do it in eight days.

So who do voters blame for this seemingly yearly occurrence? According to a 2009 Gongwer News Service poll, 37 percent of them say everyone is to blame, including the Governor, the House Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader.

Doyle said voters care less about why this keeps happening, they just want lawmakers to fix it.

"You have to make the tough decisions," he said. "That's why voters put the state representatives, the senators and the governor there, to make those tough decisions."

Lawmakers are still confident they will pass the 2010-2011 budget under the deadline.


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