The Gainesville Times shares with us their view on the current government revenue crisis.  While their views are often biased and ill-informed, this editorial was not far off the mark, but it did stray a little right of the bullseye.

Here was their first mistake:

 For more than a year, governments have cut their budgets to adjust to this new status quo. They began by tackling waste, holding the line on salaries and scuttling unnecessary agencies and functions, anything to stretch dollars further. But as taxes trickle in ever slower, those decisions have become tougher. After the fat is trimmed, what’s left is flesh and blood, namely jobs and vital services. So public employees endure pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs.

It’s painful and unfortunate, yet short of running up massive debt, which isn’t an option, that’s all local officials can do.

No it is not all public officials can do.  In fact, it is the easy way out for local officials.  The officials could do their job.  The fat has not been trimmed out of the budget.  The meat was trimmed and the fat was left.  Of course that is the problem with cutting budgets, no one ever agrees about fat and meat.  Take the local school board, how many central office positions still remain that are now housed by retired former administrators.  With my kids in the Hall County Public Schools, I think these people are doing a quality job, but if you really want to trim the fat, you have to be willingly to cut some of these positions.  Our county government has also refuse to take a close look at the fat that remains in their budget.  There are many Park and Rec. fields that are not in use, but the county still pays the money to cut the grass and keep the lights on.  If people want to play tennis and other field sports, have them pay a usage fee.  Please tell me why a well manicured baseball field is more important than a police officer on the beat.

The second mistake comes here:

What we continue to see in these and other issues is that too many are unwilling to bear their share of the sacrifice to keep government budgets balanced. They don’t want their taxes raised or their services cut. Yet if the cuts come from somewhere else, they’re fine with that. Just leave their garbage, libraries, parks and schools alone or they get angry.

This needs to stop. It’s long past time we all pulled together and realized the problems we face, as a county, city, state and nation, are shared by us all. That means we should share the burdens equally and be willing to accept a few reasonable inconveniences, especially if it protects other vital services and jobs.

These are not ordinary times. The economy is rebounding, but slowly, and unemployment remains high. Fewer people are paying taxes and have less money to spend. Something has to give.

We look forward to better economic times, when trash can be picked up in backyards, parks and libraries can flourish, children can attend well-maintained, fully staffed neighborhood schools and governments can afford all of it without hiking our taxes.

 If you are looking for the mistake, it came in the last two paragraphs.  These are extraordinary times.  These times and this problem is one of our own making.  Like the drug dealer on the corner, our elected officials promised us that we could have a good time for little consequence.  That just isn’t true.  For the past 8 years, the New Day in Georgia crew have worked to reverse the past 100 years of accomplishments in this great state.  They started by gutting the representative voice of the people, making extreme cuts to education, and giving sweetheart tax deals to their corporate lobbyist mistresses.  Don’t believe me?  Why do these same officials continue to run on the promise of “I’ll cut your taxes!”?  They’ve had plenty of time to cut them, but WE THE PEOPLE are still complaining.   That is because your taxes weren’t cut.  In Georgia, you cannot cut taxes without cutting spending.  Something about having to pass a balanced budget and all, and up until 2008 your state government never decreased a penny of spending.  They did claim to cut taxes, but what we saw was a simple smoke and mirrors tax shift.  They also used the 1.6 billion dollars of government surplus to fill in the gaps.   

When will we ever learn not to simply drink the Kool-Aid, but look at the facts.  We do have a slow economy, maybe even the worst in my lifetime, but the economy has little to do with our revenue issues.  Our revenue issues have been created by the failed systemic policies of the GOParanoid machine.  You can’t get more with less.

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