Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Recent events raise some concerns regarding the decision-making process in the Governor's office. From Monday's Post-Dispatch:
Governor Matt Blunt is giving the former lawmaker another chance. Burcham, who has lost his driving privileges in the past, will run a state Department of Revenue fee office. The offices issue drivers licenses and license plates, process applications for titles and collect sales taxes on new vehicles and boats.
Roy Temple over at The Temple Report also raises questions about the Governor and his staff's governance. Erroneous press releases are not a serious problem, but when it involves making a mistake about who heads a state deparment (similar to a cabinet position at the federal level), it does raise some eyebrows.

The more telling example may be the way in which Gov. Blunt has handled the First Steps program. His attempts to provide cover for his actions again point to either inexperience, a lack of understanding or blatant political cover. A Governor should know that reducing a programs budget to $0 is not changing the program, but eliminating it. If the Governor was attempting to establish some political cover for his cuts and said that it was simply a mistake, that would be understandable. Feeding a line to the press that you were simply trying to make changes is an example of hubris.

On Monday, Governor Blunt unveiled a new funding program for First Steps which would require more private investment to help replace the $23 million the Governor Blunt cut from the progam. It would require insurance companies to cover therapy for children and initiate co-payments for parents using the program. Those additional revenue streams would provide $2 million. Governor Blunt would also channel $14 million from savings created by cutting Medicare benefits. The Governor hopes that an additional undetermined amount in federal funds will help provide additional assistance.

The Governor's actions incline one to think he may believe he governs only those who voted for him. As the demonstrations surrounding his recent budget cuts show, Governor Blunt should remember he is the Governor for the entire state. Governor Blunt's elimination of the Bellfontaine center, cutting the First Steps program and cuts to the Medicare program effect people across the state and across the political spectrum.

Governor Blunt's efforts to manage the fallout from his actions reflect his inexperience and demonstrate a cocksure attitude that seeks to ignore reality while ensuring the triumph of short-sighted policies.

- Murphy

No comments: