Representative Blows Whistle on Backroom Deal

By: Representative Rod Montoya (R-Farmington)

The term "hubris" comes to mind when I think of the complete disregard progressive Democrats have had for public concern during this current legislative session. An overwhelming sense of entitlement is the only thing that can make such a lack of self-awareness make any sense.

Three weeks ago, I blew the whistle on a shady plan to use millions in taxpayer dollars to provide campaign staff for state legislators. As a reminder, members of the Democratic caucus snuck $6 million dollars into the budget without any debate or more importantly, any policy details attached to it. Millions of dollars with zero strings attached for state legislators to have campaign staff on the taxpayer's dime.

After blowing the whistle on this political movida, the Senate took note. They considered adding language to the budget that would have only allowed the $6 million to be used if the money was accompanied by a transparent policy setting guardrails on hired staff. This was all House Republicans could ask for - do it the right way - and the Senate appeared to agree.

That is until February 10th, when transparency once again took a backseat, and the guardrails were effectively removed by the Senate Finance Committee. Obviously, the Democrats are not concerned with the democratic process when it comes to their reelection. Not only was this backroom deal conducted in secret, but it raises questions about effective use of your taxpayer dollars. Rather than allocating additional funds to address crime, child abuse, substance abuse issues, or any of the other critical issues facing the state, legislators gave themselves a massive 52% budget increase for the upcoming fiscal year while giving executive agencies a 6.5% increase.

The staffing proposal is a clear case of "the end justifies the means." At any cost, this legislature is going to get what it wants. It is just unfortunate that in this case, the justification flies in the face of transparency and good governance. This is not just a misuse of public funds, but an unfortunate abuse of power and the public's trust.

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