School Superintendent Luebker asked others and me to go to the State Budget Hearing in River Falls to pitch for school funding.
The place was full. People filed regularly in and out of the auditorium. Some special interests wore uniform, brightly colored, stenciled shirts. They even sat altogether. It was clear that they were accustomed to these outings. Others had tables set out in the hallway with their brochures and refreshments.
There was a ceaseless lineup to get to the microphones. Speakers pontificated endlessly. Everyone used high-sounding language, crusading for his or her program’s benefits. Some warned of Armageddon-like consequences if their favorite budget line item was not increased. Little of it appeared carefully reasoned or particularly more important than other interests seemed, (please except education from this appraisal.)
Our state officials sat somberly on the stage area weathering this process. I suppose all this is necessary for our form of representative government. It does not build consensus; however, everyone gets to posit his or her money concerns. Like journalist Tom Wicker once said, “Government exists to absorb revenues – and then some.”
There was an option to fill out a form to convey a visitor’s interest, so I eventually took it. Our State Assemblywoman Gae Magnifici was there. She has my respect for patiently attending to her work. Meanwhile, I slipped out.