Monday, January 11, 2010

Opportunity Lost

I have been thinking about the current budget crisis in my town, my county, my state and other towns and states across the country. If you remember, BO's staff said that a crisis is something to take advantage of and get things done that you normally would not be able to get. Well, even though I do not like what his motives were with his statement, I do believe that the budget crisis we are seeing in the various town to state governments are opportunities. The problem is that the leaders of each of these governments are not taking advantage of their crisis.

The crisis lies in the money shortage compared to the demand on public funds. Arizona, just like other places increased spending dramatically over the past several years. Now that revenue has dropped, they do not seem to know how to cut spending. Many politicians see the solution in raising taxes. Others try to cut spending, but do it in the wrong places. No one seems to see that the problem lies in the social welfare programs.

Arizona pulled one of the dumbest solutions I have ever heard. It has an extremely short upside and a forever thereafter downside. In order to help balance the 2009 budget, they put the state owned buildings and facilities up for sale. This, they say will generate millions of dollars to help balance the budget. Have they looked past the current year and considered that this means that all future years will now have an additional expense to cover - the rent and leases on these same buildings that they once owned.

Arizona has also closed all road-side rest areas due to the cost of maintenance. They have closed some state parks and are preparing to close all of the rest. They are closing many of the MVD offices around the state. After all of this, the current year budget is still around one billion in the hole. The projections for next year is a three billion deficit. Still, social programs are off of the table and not being considered as the real problem.

An article in the Arizona Republic newspaper stated that the politicians see one of the main problems is that the voters passed restrictions on state spending and taxes. Good thing that we did or their solution would be hit us harder with higher taxes.

The opportunity lies in these politicians being forced to look deeper and hopefully, some day, seeing that the problem lies in the handouts. Until they are willing to honestly deal with social programs being out of control, they will not be able to balance anything.

We are already paying enough tax money to have rest areas - we paid to build them. We are already paying for the state parks to be open. We expect government to do what they are responsible for and to stop seeing themselves as the robber and the Santa at the same time.

Use this time to stop playing Santa and concentrate on basic government functions. Maintain the infrastructure, provide for the public safety, etc. We did not elect you to take our money and give it to someone else. If we want that done, we will do it through our charitable giving.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more! Everyday I see people at Safeway getting free stuff, to them anyways, I just can't help but think that I am buying them $50 worth of shrimp or $100 worth of meat! And they get so mad when they find out the energy drinks are not included!! Then I see these men and young kids on foodstamps, men that look perfectly fine to me, look stong enough to work. Young kids like 18 19 year old kids to lazy to get out from in front of the tv and video games to go out and get a job! Ugh makes me sick.

    But good post I can relate to this one!