USA Today reports that while "many of the governors who will be inaugurated next month are scaling back their celebrations," Gov. Joe Manchin has already caught flak for planning "a lavish inaugural ball."
"His 2005 ball, funded by private donations and sponsorships, had a budget of about $1.3 million," the article noted, citing Manchin's inaugural committee spokeswoman Sara Payne Scarbro.
Scarbro, who will return to the governor's press office in January, also defended plans for the 2009 ball, citing how "Manchin has created 23,000 jobs and reduced the state's debt."
"We've got our financial house in order and made some lasting changes," she told the newspaper. "That is definitely worth celebrating."