Legislature Returns, YIPPEE!

(A brief discussion tween Baer and Baer's editor, a.k.a., BE)

JB: You know your favorite Legislature starts a new session today, right?

BE: Wow, right to work, eh? Figure out how to cut that $4 billion deficit, sell the State Stores, bring jobs to every region of the state? Must be a full agenda today.

JB: Uh, actually, it's just speeches, receptions and lots of flowers.

BE: Flowers?

JB: Yup. Desks in the 203-seat House and 50-seat Senate will be adorned. It'll look like a florists' convention.

BE: Who pays?

JB: You're joking, right? We're talking the PENNSYLVANIA legislature. Last time, two years ago, taxpayers spent $13 K just on new Bibles for the swearing-ins.

BE: Of course.

JB: But, hey, a glimmer of hope. House leaders are using donor funds to pay for Bibles, flowers, receptions, according to a front-page piece in the Harrisburg Patriot-News yesterday by my colleague Jan Murphy.

BE: And the Senate?

JB: Not so much.

BE: How much?

JB: Well, Jan's piece estimates around $23 K just for the House; no word on the Senate.

BE: So, special interests pay House expenses and taxpayers pay the Senate tab.

JB: Pick your poison.

BE: Well, at least they're back early and ready to dig in, eh?

JB: Actually, after today they're gone until Jan. 18 when Tom Corbett gets sworn in, according to an AP piece today.

BE: Who pays for that?

JB: I'm thinking the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

BE: Well, at least taxpayers aren't footing the whole bill speechifying, balls, partues and all those Bibles and flowers.

JB: Right. Reform is in full bloom.