Broken budget process
The amendment is yet another indictment of the state’s broken budget process.
By failing to pass the budget by July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year, lawmakers manufacture a crisis for state agencies, local governments, school districts, state and state-related universities and innumerable institutions with public missions. That, in turn, creates political pressure to pass a late budget, enabling chicanery such as the Mount Airy amendment. In a deliberate budget process with true deadlines, such an amendment would receive scrutiny from the media and debate within the Legislature, rather than being slapped, at the last moment, onto a budget bill that must pass. It is government at its worst.
At the very least, the Legislature should require members to be accountable for the amendments they introduce. That alone would deter such special-interest chicanery, which is indefensible on policy grounds.