At last, a key legislator has acknowledged the obvious: that government in RI is in serious need of consolidation. Faced with a $100 million revenue shortfall just three months into the current fiscal year, Senate Finance Chairman Dan Daponte says that "municipal and school consolidation throughout Rhode Island" must be looked at seriously. It's about time - actually it's past time. Lawmakers to date haven't been able to embrace real change - like consolidation of services - in facing up to the state's fiscal crisis. Aside from raising taxes, which would be political poison in the next election year, consolidating government services is the only reasonable alternative. This is something that needs to be done as soon as possible and could save millions of dollars. Legislators should have been studying consolidation several years ago as the state's deficit situation became apparent. That they haven't to date is another blackmark against them and their leadership.