Monday, January 16, 2006

Buying a Vowel, And Anything Else We Can Think Of

The 30-day NM Legislative session starting tomorrow will be one of those "Wheel of Fortune" moments, where the entire NM government has just correctly identified the phrase "Huge Mofo Gas and Oil Windfall" after hitting $10 million several spins in a row. Now they get to go shopping, baby, for the political equivalent of dinette sets, vacations in Curacao, and a brand new Mercury! A political consumerist bloodbath. A bacchanal of pipedreams and pork. An epic, gory explosion of pent-up spending repression the likes of which hasn't been seen around these parts...well, maybe ever, especially when combined with a high-energy popular governor who seemingly has never seen a high-profile initiative he didn't like.

This is gonna be worse than that scene last Summer in Richmond, VA when the school district tried to unload old IBooks for $50. Now in the picture above, just imagine the guy in light blue as Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, and the fallen folks all around as various Legislature members literally overcome with the scent of pork fumes.

Oh, the political humanity.

The list of possible shiny new objects to be purchased in the session is lengthy to the point of being impossible to track. The Governor has pushed for tax cuts, a Spaceport, follow-through spending on the oft-discussed Rail Runner, a boost to the minimum wage, a standardized voting system revamp, raises for all state employees, a Western States primary, new schools in Westside ABQ, expanded pre-K and teacher pay raises, and a crime package focusing on meth. Yesterday's Journal has a more complete run-down (of course you gotta pay for it). And that's just the Governor's ideas. Who knows what limits of crackpottery your run-of-the-mill legislator is capable of?

The bottom line is that it's gonna be a month-long blast for all us political junkies, as we watch the windfall money get spent five times over. My personal favorite: checking out the cool NM Legislative website for capital outlay requests by individual legislators. It's fun every session, but the sheer breadth and scope of unalloyed pristine pork ground out in this one is gonna make for an online laugh riot. Those with similar nerdy festishes are urged to send along any candidates for this year's "Wackiest Pork Award", or for the NM "Bridge to Nowhere Useless Expenditure Prize" . No doubt about it, the competition should be fierce. Now spin that wheel, New Mexico...there's not a "bankrupt" anywhere in sight and Vanna is looking great tonight! Hey, maybe we can buy Vanna. Vanna and a bunch of vowels.

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