Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Leggett Protects Incumbent TV

In its new package of budget cuts, the Leggett administration did not heed our call to cut County Cable Montgomery (CCM), also known on this blog as Incumbent TV. Instead, the County Executive has chosen to keep CCM whole in time for the next election.

The County Executive’s package of $29.5 million in cuts, necessitated by the state’s cuts in aid to the county, includes the following reductions:

Public schools cut: $9.7 million
Montgomery College cut: $1.1 million
Park and Planning cut: $2.2 million
Health and Human Services cut: $971,550
Police cut: $1.2 million, including reduction of January 2010 recruit class from 47 to 36 police officer candidates

As for County Cable Montgomery? Their “cuts” consist of delaying the hiring of two staff people until January 5, 2010. That means they will be on board for the election year, and of course, the primary purpose of some of CCM’s programming is to make incumbent county officials look good. The only other cable television cut is targeted at Public, Education and Government (PEG) programming, which serves people who do not speak English. Let’s remember that CCM’s budget has been increased 72% since FY 2006, a FAR greater rate than any core function of government. Here is the “cut” package for CCM.

Why is CCM protected? Because while cuts to the schools, police, community college and services to the poor are OK, the last thing that will ever be cut is the re-election prospects of incumbent office holders.