Day 1 Testimony Concludes with Head Scratcher

It’s a well known fact that apples to oranges is far from the ideal comparison. Apparently, however, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Crawford and some fellow Democratic members of his committee have yet to learn that helpful lesson.

When Indiana Chamber lobbyist Derek Redelman pointed out that many baseline education funding items simply don’t match up in the governor’s and House Democrats’ budget plans – which makes it virtually impossible to truly compare the merits of the proposals – he was the one criticized.

Crawford went so far as to take umbrage with Redelman, accusing him of insinuating that the House D’s cooked their numbers – which, by the way, was not what Redelman said (he even noted that he wasn’t blaming anyone but the numbers needed to be comparable). Geez …anyone sensitive?

An example of the lopsidedness of the dueling budget plans: one special education baseline number included the funding for preschools and the other didn’t, resulting in a $70 million difference over two years.

In the end, such facts didn’t matter. What did matter is Crawford’s trust in the Legislative Services Agency, which prepares all of the fiscal forecasts for state government. That’s fine, but the lovefest of remarks from Democrats was a bit much.

And yes, the numbers may be accurate (which Redelman didn’t really dispute), but they’re not comparable. At some juncture, legislators are going to need to view apples to apples. But hey, we’ve got plenty of time for such trivial details!

The Ways and Means Committee gets back to business Monday at 10 a.m., with budget amendments expected to be considered. Later that day, the full House convenes at 1:30 p.m.