Friday, January 08, 2010
Across the board budget cuts are just lazy
There are reports that the South Carolina state government will issue another two percent budget cut to all state government. Perhaps a cut of so much money is needed. But, with the legislature in session next week an across the board budget cut is political cowardly and just lazy.
The problem that state government funding has had for years is that state government often does not set priorities and fund “first things first.” It is a leftover result of the old days when Democrats ran the show. One of the best tricks by Democrats was to fund the unnecessary and then demand a tax increase to fund the necessary.
With the exception of those Republicans calling for a tobacco tax increase, Republicans are not calling for a tax increase. Instead, they are asking Public Safety to cut as much as commerce and the like. It is politically expedient. No one’s sacred political cow gets cut out entirely. Lobbyists and activists then back off a bit. It makes good political sense to have across the board cuts, in that it keeps the lobbyists and bureaucrats happy.
But, it makes no governing sense whatsoever. The state government of South Carolina is like any other entity. It needs to spend its available resources on the most important things to it, and then spend what is left on the superfluous. Frankly, do we want to cut the Highway Patrol equally with the state parks, or do we want to fund the Highway Patrol fully and cut things like state parks and Commerce Department travel more?
Most of the members of the General Assembly were elected espousing some form of the idea of making government work more like a business. Well, if that were the case, then those members of the General Assembly would stand up and set priorities for government spending. They would sit down, do the homework, and decide which agencies provided essential services and which did not and allocate cuts accordingly.
Such is not easy work, but in these times, easy ways out should not be sought. Frankly, it is just hard for the average person in South Carolina to understand why the state troopers in their county must have their hours cut and the school buses that their children ride upon have maintenance cut but superfluous bureaucratic programs remain funded. Across the board cuts set up such a situation. It is just plain laziness that defies common business sense.
VUI recognizes the political realities of the situation. There are lobbyists and bureaucrats who have strong ties to the General Assembly. Fair enough. However, regardless of what you think the priorities of state spending should be, wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the General Assembly meet and debate such priorities openly when it comes to such cuts?
Instead, we, the people of South Carolina, get laziness and the best calculated political move. That leaves us the real losers of the state budget game