From Statehouse News
Despite GOP claims of extravagance and waste, a $450,000-a-year two-person Washington D.C. state office run by the Patrick administration has offered key support on Medicaid waiver negotiations, children’s health insurance advocacy, and federal energy assistance, administration officials argued this week.
As the Senate prepares to debate its fiscal 2009 spending plan Wednesday, Republican Senate leaders are moving to slash a $453,292 line item for “costs associated with maintaining and enhancing the commonwealth’s Washington, DC office for the purpose of better coordinating all activities and programs that receive or may potentially receive federal funds or are regulated by federal agencies.”
The logic, according to Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, is that an all-Democratic Congressional delegation and Democrat-controlled Congress should offer more than enough assistance to a Democrat-controlled Massachusetts government, negating any need for a costly, separate office. In addition, Tisei argued that the Romney administration funded its DC office at a lower level than requested by the Patrick administration and used funds from the governor’s own account, not a separate line item.
“You would think [the administration and congressmen] would be able to communicate among each other and use the congressional offices as our lobbyist in Washington,” Tisei said in a phone interview. “We don’t necessarily have to have an office in Washington that’s as staffed up as it is right now. At a time when we’re cutting back human service programs, it seems to me that the last thing we need is an extravagant office in Washington.”
It seems like a good idea to me. Why do we need an office in DC for the state. That’s why we elect Congressmen and Senators. Are we saying that our Congressmen and Senators are ineffective? That seems to be Deval Patrick’s excuse.