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June 23, 2004

Guerrilla Budget Battles

Edward Achorn continues to slip encouragement to Rhode Island conservatives — actually, to anybody who opposes our corrupt one-party government. Yesterday, he noted a relatively small, but hugely symbolic, victory on the part of Governor Carcieri:

When [the doling out of power and money] was over, and the budget passed 49 to 22, House Democrats held a victory party with beer and wine. [Union boss Frank] Montanaro stopped by to celebrate yet another triumph for his special interests.

But the celebrations may have been premature. As Republicans were quick to point out, the state constitution requires the "assent of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the general assembly" to pass certain spending in the budget. And there are 75 elected members. Forty-nine falls one vote short of two-thirds. ...

In the end, the most powerful politician in the state -- Speaker Murphy -- was reduced to stalling for time, while Democrats feverishly tried to round up a 50th vote. Meanwhile, Mr. Fox railed on the House floor, shouting at foes, as Mr. Caprio put it, "like Howard Dean times 100." When Mr. Murphy failed to scrounge 50 votes, he had the chamber approve the budget anyway and send it to the Senate -- a tactical mistake, surely, since that threw the ball into the Senate's court. ...

Whatever happens, though, Friday's budget maneuvers revealed a flaw in the machine that for decades has been running the state as a wholly owned subsidiary of the public-employee labor unions. Mr. Murphy has rebellious Democrats in his ranks. Governor Carcieri, rather than wave the white flag to more powerful forces, has made it clear that he intends to do battle.

Have I mentioned that the sun has broken through the clouds?

Posted by Justin Katz at June 23, 2004 8:18 AM
Rhode Island