Balancing the state budget?
Yet another editorial shifts blame away from the party in power
Remember when the Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature? Back then, Mike Myer columns and editorials opposing what the legislature was doing or about to do always had "Democrat-controlled" or "Democrat-led" in front of "legislature." Now that the Republicans are in control, the adjectives have been removed and all we get is a plain-old "legislature." (Additionally, "state government" also works as a nice substitute because it suggests that it's a faceless bureaucracy rather than the legislature that has the power in West Virginia.)
To that end, Sunday's lead editorial, "Sacrifice Not Really Shared" takes the "state government" (rather than the Republican legislature) to task for not resolving the budget crisis:
What the bureaucrats say about balancing the budget, in public at least, always seems to focus on cutting important services and increasing taxes. Why do they never seem to talk about ways to reduce government payrolls? Why is there never talk of finding non-critical state programs? Do they expect West Virginians to believe everything state government does is essential?
A couple of thoughts. At this point in the budget crisis, if you cut government payrolls, you are inevitably going to cut "important services" to someone and the editorial never tells us which "non-critical state program" should be eliminated. The "newspapers" remind me of candidates who, when asked how they will fund their program or cut taxes, respond by stating they will eliminate waste in government, close loopholes, or get rid of bloated bureaucracies. Yeah, they see things that no one else can see or claim methods of reducing expenditures that no one else has ever thought of. And when pressed for details, they suggest a committee or task force to study and make recommendations because it puts them in the "cut taxes" camp without having to provide any specifics.
Like those candidates, our "newspapers" are very short when it comes to details on cutting payrolls and non-critical programs. A Mike Myer column a couple of weeks ago noted that the Department of Education has 43 more workers this year than it had ten years ago. That column begged the question that those additional workers were unnecessary -- no details on what they do were given. That's it on any specifics from our "newspapers" that I could find.
Hey, governing is hard -- it's a lot easier to editorialize for cutting or not raising taxes when your favorite party is not in power and they don't have to actually balance a budget.
And one final thought on revenue -- shouldn't some of those jobs spurred by our "job-creating" Republican legislature be kicking in by now?