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New LJS columnist would rather “say it plain”

Another good column today from the Journal Star’s new statehouse reporter, Kevin O’Hanlon. He wrote about how the governor’s office didn’t like it when he wrote about the state’s nearly $1 billion “budget gap.”

Now, there’s nothing odd about him describing the chasm between spending and revenue as a “gap.” But apparently, the governor’s office doesn’t like the sound of the word. He got an email from Gov. Dave Heineman’s “communications director” (spokeswoman, PR person) saying they prefer to call it a “projected budget shortfall based off of the Legislature’s fiscal projection.”

O’Hanlon went on to eviscerate their argument. Clearly, this is a typical attempt by a politician’s spin doctor to get the reporter to use meaningless phrases that do nothing but confuse readers. Their preferred phrase kind of implies the Legislature is to blame for this thing.

Would you be more likely to understand what O’Hanlon means by “budget gap” or “projected budget shortfall based off of the Legislature’s fiscal projection”? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I think even “budget gap” can be confusing, but reporters nationwide use that and other words like shortfall and deficit to describe a situation where the government isn’t taking in enough as much money as it needs to pay for current spending.

Looks like the LJS hired a columnist who isn’t afraid to cut through that kind of “excrement emanating from the male of a bovine animal” — and say it plain.

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