Plan 'Fuzzy Math'
Editor's Note: Alan R. Bradley is a resident of Laurel and a small business owner in Seaford.
In his latest statements defending the State House Republican plan to unnecessarily expand the General Assembly, State Representative J. Benjamin Ewing uses what President Bush would call "fuzzy math".
The financial analysis by the Controller General's Office calculating the cost Mr. Ewing refers to conveniently leaves out any costs for the new staff that will be needed and any funding that each legislator traditionally gets from the Community Transportation Fund.
House members have jointly announced with their expansion plans that the normal yearly amount of $300,000 that each House member receives for road, street and sidewalk funding will drastically be reduced to help pay for the House expansion.
The citizens of the 35th Representative District in the Bridgeville area Mr. Ewing serves should be thrilled to learn that he will be greatly reducing their normal annual share of $300,000 from this Community Transportation Fund to help pay for the House Republican expansion plan.
With the convenient math skills Mr. Ewing and the State House Republicans have, they would be more at home in doing their math at a company like Enron and not with our tax dollars.
Mr. Ewing also referred to the fact that State House Democrats support the Republican expansion plan. Well, everyone knows one thing that truly unites paid politicians is incumbent protection schemes. The House redistricting plan is nothing but incumbent protection and anyone with an ounce of common sense honestly knows that is the only real reason to attempt to expand the General Assembly in these tough economic times.
Something is seriously wrong when we are served by legislators who believe it is okay to cut spending in all parts of state government, including education and roads, only to increase spending for more legislators we do not need.
Sixty-two legislators are more than enough for Delaware, where our population is still relatively small and only just pushing around 1 million residents.
Our neighboring states, with much higher populations -- Maryland with more than 5 million residents, Virginia with more than 6 million, and Pennsylvania with more than 11 million -- have only 188, 140 and 253 total legislators, respectively.
While Delaware is indeed not like California, where legislators have many more constituents, it should definitely not become a state like New Hampshire by having more legislators than we really need. That would be a waste of taxpayer money and only be done to protect incumbents who should probably be drawn out of their districts with the shifts in population.
If Mr. Ewing really had the close relationship with Delaware citizens he claims, he would know that we don't have money to waste on more government we don't need.
Unfortunately, once some elected officials have been in office as many years as Mr. Ewing, they often forget the money they spend on bad ideas like legislative expansion is ours.
Mr. Ewing's embarrassing defense of this blatant incumbent protection scheme would seem to prove that after an elected official serves more than 15 years, they seem to lose proper perspective on how best to spend the taxpayer money of those of us who have worked hard for that money in the private sector.
Mr. Ewing would be well-served to heed the words of the national head of his party, President Bush, who wisely knows that the American people are the best judges of how to spend our own money and money not wasted by government can best be spent by Americans in the private sector to help pull us out of these difficult times.
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