Sure, the economy is tanking, the state is facing a big deficit, government agencies will likely be asked to slash their budgets -- but at least the Texas House of Representatives has got a nice new lounge.
State officials unveiled the new members-only lounge to the media today, and Associated Press writer Jay Root tries to say as much as he can about the experience without losing that famous AP objectivity.
"Among the expenditures listed," he writes, "are the two brass chandeliers at $14,500 each; custom wood cabinets with granite countertops and backsplash at $61,200; a Scotsman Touchfree air-cooled flake ice maker at $3,425; and two Sharp 42-inch LCD TVs at $2,198."
The tour was given by State Rep. Terry Goolsby of the Dallas area, who oversaw the project but who was also defeated for re-election. Apparently no member who will be staying on was willing to give the tour.
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Writes Root: "House officials have said they needed to upgrade the lounge to keep it on par with the Senate cloak room."
The project was not, apparently, the most-supervised operation ever: "House officials were never clear on who oversaw the project and the purchase of the chandeliers and offered little clarity on Monday," Root writes.
As long as everyone's comfortable.
-- Richard Connelly