Normally, I wouldn't bother to comment on a story like this, but there's an aspect to it that I can't resist.
At a time when Gov. Rick Perry is ordering state agencies to cut their budgets and brace for economic decline, the Texas House of Representatives is renovating its members lounge with new furnishings, televisions, a refrigerator and other upgrades.
Aides to House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, confirmed that state tax dollars are being used for the upgrade, which also apparently includes $30,000 worth of antique wood as well as new carpet and food-service improvements. They declined to immediately provide cost figures.
Watchdog groups said it was the wrong time to spend government dollars on a members-only lounge for politicians.
"That's completely inappropriate," said Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, a taxpayer advocacy group. "Now is not the time to be engaging in extravagant dalliances. Now is the time for the Legislature to show leadership by restraining itself."
What caught my eye about this story is the following:
Craddick's office said the project is being coordinated by state Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, chairman of the House Administration committee.
Goolsby said two new TVs, a refrigerator and a new food service line were included in the upgrade, but the 19-year House veteran otherwise had scant details about the expenditures.
Goolsby said he hadn't kept up with it because he's been too focused on his own political survival in a district where supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama -- and presumably his opponent Carol Kent -- are highly energized.
"I'm up to my ass in a damn campaign," Goolsby said. "This is the only job I've got and I'm trying to save it. Obama's got people coming from the rafters."