As I sit here reviewing the budget, I see so many things that concern me and I have so many questions. I will get these questions answered so I can be ready to represent your concerns.
I'm inspired about the power that we all have to be part of the budget process. Most of you know about my love for "crowdsourcing" --that is the ability of many people in a crowd to solve big problems by working together, small bites at a time.
In that spirit, this is my call to action to you to help us get ready for this budget debate. We all know that our staff at the capitol (while incredible) can't cover all of the questions that the public has, due to time constraints. Plus, we know that we legislators find it difficult to keep up as the Republican Leadership pushes the budget through quickly in order to avoid too much public scrutiny.
This is what I need from you:
1) Crowdsource your questions. Look over the budget and post your questions on my Facebook page. I don't have all the answers, but somebody in our universe will, or we can find them. Let's put our shared brainpower together to understand the budget (and not be intimidated by it) by sharing and answering our questions together. Here is a link to the budget executive summary.
2) Tell us real life stores. I need leads for people who can tell their stories about how persistent budget cuts have harmed them or our economy.
a. I'm looking for former students who can't buy a house because years of tuition increases have overloaded them with debt.
b. I'm looking for people with experience in corrections and prisons who can tell real stories about how we could be saving money through better spending priorities. (See image. Doesn't this say that we are doing wrong if our prison population grows like this?)
c. The governor wants to give public school facilities to charter schools, which don't have the same basic reporting requirements for how they spend taxpayer dollars. I am looking for people who have direct experience with this reporting loophole who are willing to speak in public. I believe that there are great charter schools. But any time you allow organizations to skip accountability, there will be problems. We have a right to know.
If you can help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be more to come. Please stay tuned.