So the retired teachers and state employees will not get their $500 checks, which was previously going to be a 13th check. The news has been greeted by silence by the state’s leaders. They cover for each other. Somebody clearly made a mistake here. Why isn’t anyone interested in getting to the bottom of this? One reason, I suspect, is that the budget writers and the governor are only too happy to have the money remain in limbo where it can be used next session to help fill the budget hole. Here’s my list of suspects: 1. The Legislative Budget Board. They put the budget together. They are supposed to know how this stuff works. 2. Ogden and Duncan. They were lead budget writers for the Senate. Duncan had responsibility for the retirement system. They never were thrilled about the idea of giving out the checks. 3. On the House side, Pitts and Truitt. He’s the chairman of Appropriations; she’s a lackluster chair of Pensions, Investments, & Financial Services. 4. Shapiro, Eissler, Hochberg. They’re the lawmakers who are responsible for the education side. 5. Combs. She’s the comptroller. The money was sent to her. She could have caught the mistake before certifying the budget. Knowing how the money is supposed to be handed out is part of her job description. 6. Abbott. He always gives the leadership what they want. Clever of him to issue his opinion on the Monday before Thanksgiving when nobody is paying much attention. This is the problem with a one-party state in which the governor and lieutenant governor have been in office forever. Oversight is nonexistent. Nobody wants to rock the boat. Nobody wants to turn over any rocks. Just get reelected. Is Straus going to be a party to this conspiracy of silence?
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