With the television running on a constant All-Spitzer-All-The-Time loop, sometime after Drew and I got done with the inevitable shock and dismay and disgust, our choruses of “that wasn’t just immoral and illegal, it was plain damned stupid”, lamentation over why middle-aged male politicians have such porous pants, and our predictions of what’s going to happen to the balance of political power in the extremely dysfunctional and polarized New York State government, I paused.
And said, “Shit. We’re never going to get a budget.”
Which is how libraries and prostitution end up in the same sentence.
The state budget proposal came from the governor’s office recently, and sometime soon the legislature is supposed to present opposing proposals, and then they’re all supposed to sit down and negotiate in good faith, and present the state agencies with a budget. The agencies then trickle the money down to all their branches, limbs and twigs. I am a leaf on a twig, and it takes a while for the budget to get from the negotiating room to the leaves. Understanding that Governor Spitzer is now at political death’s door due to his involvement in an apparent prostitution ring, and knowing that the current, long-standing stalemate between Democrats and Republicans in our state government is now likely to get worse rather than better, and looking ahead to the predicted budget deficits on our state’s horizon — libraries and prostitution. I’m not getting a budget any time soon.
Meanwhile, up here, at this nice little state-funded college library in a far corner of the state, I’m working hard to serve our 5000 students and faculty. Part of that work is planning for next year’s materials expenditures — how much for print and online periodicals subscriptions? How much for databases and online full-text providers? How much for streaming audio and video? How much for books? It’s hard to answer any question of “how much” when the budget for the state is a dream on a far-off horizon, and the leaders of the state are factionalized and stalemated, and our governor’s immoral arrogance has destroyed him, and there’s no sign of forward movement on any of those issues. But I have to. Because I have to be prepared for the best, the worst, and everything in-between. That’s my job.
I’ll manage. But it’d be nice if I could do that work without knowing that the government that’s supposed to be supporting my efforts is actually making it harder for me to be effective. It’s hard to be hopeful when you know that the top of the ladder you’re climbing is rotten.
Listening to: Malkit Singh – Jind Mahi