Monday, December 28, 2015

We can't keep cutting our way out of a budget crisis

As we're moving into the New Year, Legislators are--once again--focused on old problems that have only been placated by patchwork solutions: namely, our state budget. The 2016 legislative session is right around the corner, and Republican leadership is wasting no time saying how this session is going to be exactly like the last one.

Remember the last one? The Republican supermajority's in-fighting sent us into two special sessions, spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars before we finally passed a make-shift budget.

The Republican leadership is already saying they're going to make more budget cuts rather than consider responsible, balanced solutions. I'm wondering what's left to cut.

When families sit down to make their household budget or when they need to tighten the belt and cut back due to a job loss or major expense, families know this much: there's only so much you can cut. You can downsize to a smaller house, but you have to have four walls and a roof. You can cut the grocery budget, but the kids still need three square meals a day. You can cut back in a lot of areas, but you can't just cut them out completely if you expect a family to function.

But that's exactly what the Supermajority has done in the State of Alabama: They've cut the textbooks out from under children's noses and still expected our teachers to teach; they've cut the driver's license offices out of rural areas and still expected voters to produce photo identification to vote; they've cut our court systems and prison programs and mental health services and still expected business as usual--its ridiculous!

We're at the limit of what we can cut and still survive as a functional government. Our schools are teetering at the bottom of the barrel nationally. Our driver's license office closings have prompted a federal investigation. Our court systems are clogged on the verge of unconstitutional, our prisons are on the verge of a federal takeover, and our mental health services are non-existent. Can you imagine what more cuts would do?

We must demand more from "Conservative" leadership.

Because just like in our families, leadership is about what's best for the whole family. It's about making decisions for long-term solvency, not just short-term solutions.

Budgeting for the state is no different: we need smart, solvent solutions that work for all Alabamians. And that certainly doesn't mean more budget cuts.

1 comment:

  1. While it is GOP dogma to cut/reduce the size of government... they are just answering the call of the constituency who elected them. People who have NO AWARENESS that these cuts will impact THEM ALSO, or who just DON'T CARE. But they are the FIRST to SQUEAL and the first with THEIR hand out, when something THEY depend upon is cut. ("It's okay to cut THEM... but not ME")

    The majority of people in this state REFUSE to acknowledge that we can't CUT our way out of this, that we need NEW revenue sources and tax increases, and we need to eliminate excessive tax breaks for some businesses and higher income folks. We need to STOP giving away FUTURE state revenue, just so a company can bring us 500 jobs at a time.

    Really-- the ONLY way to improve our state budget is to improve our ECONOMY, and the only way to do that is to make Alabama a DESIREABLE place to do business that ISN'T related to our "tradition" of the LOWEST PAID LABOR force. It means GOOD schools, great job opportunities, a well-funded, CARING and FUNCTIONAL government, a clean environment, a welcoming, all-inclusive society and a REAL FUTURE that is BETTER -- not more of the SAME or worse.

    So.. do YOUR PART! Pay attention to what is going on in Montgomery - Let YOUR legislators KNOW you are watching them and TELL THEM when you DISAGREE with their bills or their votes. Otherwise - they just hear from the SAME people who tell them what they are doing is A-OKAY.