One outraged taxpayers' group calls it "the 'Fantasia' trip." We call it "the Great Escape."
At a time when state budgets are in a sling, legislators from across the country are gathering at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., to hear Vice President Quayle speak at Epcot Center and to attend workshops on ethics and campaign finance reform. There will also be time for fun and games. Pennsylvania legislators ended their budget deadlock in time to attend, triggering a march on the Capitol in Harrisburg by disgusted state workers chanting, "M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E."
Maryland constituents should be equally disturbed. Despite severe budget problems and a $1 billion deficit staring them in the face, the legislature cut only $50,000 from its own travel budget of $150,000. With state workers being forced to put in longer hours, layoffs and program cuts on the horizon, with lawmakers apparently put their travel plans in the "untouchable" spending category. Some 30 of them flew off to New Orleans to frolic with southern legislators last month. Now another 30 are merrily on their way to Orlando and the Magic Kingdom.