Maybe nothing to Tony Soprano and, unfortunately, not much to the "Federales," as former Governor George Allen used to call the behemoth that is the D.C. bureaucracy. But just a few minutes ago, after a loooooong day on the House floor, Delegate Dwight Jones (D-70, Richmond), when everyone wanted to get home, prolonged a floor vote on HB 1522, a bi-partisan bill to merge the Department of Business Assistance and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

He asked question after question of its patron, freshman Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72, Henrico), hinting that doing so would somehow be racist because of the former agency's work with women and minority businesses. Never mind that he had it mixed up with the Department of Minority Business Enterprise, which would not be affected, he actually had the nerve to ask, at the conclusion of his hostile questioning:

"Aside from saving a small amount of money, what good does this bill do?"

The Department of Planning and Budget says it actually will savetaxpayers $196,000 a year; that's $392,000 per biennium, by which the budget is written. Chump change to some, but revealing of the government-first, tax-payer last mentality of the liberal camp in your General Assembly, that doesn't think saving taxpayer money is ever good. Remarkably, 47 delegates voted against this commonsense government streamlining. How can that many people be against saving tax dollars? Even more peculiar, but not the only strange vote against, was the normally-reliable-on-fiscal-matters Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth) who voted against it even though he is a co-patron! Republicans who voted against it were Delegates Charles W. Carrico, Sr., (R-5, Independence), Annie B. Crockett-Stark (R-6, Wytheville), Jackson Miller (R-50, Manassas) and David Nutter (R-7, Christiansburg). The lone Democrat who voted for HB 1522 was Delegate Bud Phillips (D-2, Castlewood).

How often do our elected officials actually save us money? Right. Somewhere between the snow falling in Saudi Arabia and the French winning a war. Not to mention, the synergy of the two complementary agencies is highly expected to recruit more business to Virginia and help more start-ups and small companies. But don't try explaining that to the government-first crowd. For them, if it ain't big government it ain't nothing, so just keep forking over your hard-earned money, man.