Saturday, May 03, 2003

Where's the Vision Governor?

Sources at the Capitol complain that Brad Henry is still trapped in the mindset of a lawyer/legislator - wanting to know the details of issues and projects and unable to see the big picture. Not only that, but he has surrounded himself with a cabinet of like-thinkers - technocrats obsessed with the small details and without the "vision thing". While others want to move forward on issues such as new wave economic development and globalization the Governor seems to have his head stuck in the sand. Granted, he has a big challenge with the budget but rather than move forward with wealth-creating projects he is focused on cutting the state's economic development budget. He says one thing and does another. He says while other states pull back on economic development he is going to go full steam ahead. How? By slashing the state's economic development efforts?

Governor Henry was in the Legislature for years. He knows the wastage is in the pork barrel projects hidden in the state's "pass-through" funds. These are line-item appropriations Legislators pass-through state agencies on to their pet projects. The state agencies have no control over these pass-throughs and there is no oversight of how the monies are spent. Two-thirds of some agencies' budgets are pass-throughs. Why not cut the pork Governor and use it for revenue-generating economic development?

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