I posted recently about the way it seems that our state and federal government leaders can think of no solution to tough economic times other than taxing, borrowing and spending.
Another example of that surfaced in a news story today about the state’s worsening budget situation. Following his Monday meeting with the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations, state Finance Commissioner Jason Dilges was asked how the state will cover what’s expected to be a $200 million budget shortfall next year.
"My sense is we’re going to have to use a big chunk of the stimulus," Dilges was quoted as answering.
I realize that the stimulus money is there for the taking, and it might be foolish not to grab it. But I also wonder if our state government could put itself in a much better position long-term by taking its medicine now and drastically cutting the state budget instead of relying on the stimulus as a savior. It would result in significant short-term pain, but wouldn’t it put us back on sound financial footing and position us for a much brighter future?
That’s not likely to happen any time soon, though, because significant budget cuts would require an admission that the state is spending too much. Our elected leaders don’t seem ready to admit that they’re overspending. They still seem convinced that the economy is going to rebound, sales taxes are going to start climbing by leaps and bounds, and everything will be rosy again.
Maybe they’re right (according to one recent Associated Press story, they’re not). If they’re not right, I see only two solutions: an endless supply of federal dollars to bail us out, or significant budget cuts. And if you think the federal money is going to last, I suggest you click here to read about the feds’ current budget situation.