Friday, February 11, 2011

Actions Speak Louder than One 12-Year-Old Vote

In a radio ad Representative Jeff Stone says that he voted against a piece of legislation related to pension benefits for state employees (including legislators). Today he says that he voted against the legislation in 1999 because it added too much to state employee's pension benefits. Stone did cast that vote but I don't think that one vote in all of his years in the legislature is enough to hang his hat on today. I think that his actions/inaction through all of these years speak much louder than that single vote in 1999.

For example, if Stone was so upset at the time about the pension benefits contained in the 1999 legislation then why didn't he waive those same benefits for himself? In their unusually literal take on Stone's claim, PolitiFact verifies that he did no such thing. They report that "he has not attempted to waive the benefits for himself". He didn't attempt to waive them after the legislation passed and he hasn't waived them in all the years since that time. I'm sorry but that fact puts his 1999 vote in some much needed context.

Aside from him not waiving those pension benefits for himself, what does the rest of his legislative record tell us? If he was so concerned about this issue, why does he have to reach all the way back to a 1999 vote? If he is so fervent about this subject then where are his legislative efforts to change those benefits? Has he introduced legislation to repeal any of the benefits since that 1999 vote? He has been in the state legislature for over a decade and most of that time his party has been in control of the Assembly (and sometimes the entire legislature). So where is his legislation to repeal the benefits that he voted against in 1999 but has been so happily willing to collect for himself?

Jeff Stone may try to appeal to that single vote, but I think that his action/inaction on the subject for the last 12 years speak much louder than one isolated vote that he took in 1999.

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