The State Legislature is meeting and something, probably many things, are going to get cut. The Arizona Capitol Times, the Arizona Guardian, the Arizona Republic, etc. are all running articles about people and groups trying to protect their funding. First in line is our soon to be former Governor, Janet Napolitano. She is pleading to save all of the programs she started when it seemed like Arizona would have an endless money supply. Next in line is education. Schools are forecasting doom and gloom if their budgets get cut. Then there's social services. In a bad economy, more and more people sign up for government services.
So my question is: what do they cut? Emergency services? No, that's unacceptable. How about, um... what's left? The unfortunate truth is that all the things that governments pay for benefit society (well, depending on who you ask). So, if all the government programs are good, how do you justify cutting any of them? That's the problem. No matter what gets cut, there will be people who think it was the wrong thing. In my opinion, these are the things that are most important:
- Government itself: The government needs to be able to run. I'm not saying they shouldn't look for and eliminate inefficiencies, etc. but they do need enough money to function.
- Emergency Services: Police, Fire, and other emergency services need to run. They protect citizens from each other and from physical harm.
- Education: Our State Constitution requires education and the future of our society depends on it.
- Services for the Disabled: Notice I didn't put all social services. I think the government has a responsibility for helping to take care of those that can't take care of themselves.
After that, prioritizing gets very difficult. In fact, the priorities I put up there are subject to change. If you have other ideas, I'm definitely open to them. My point is that the Legislature and our new Governor are going to have to put together a similar list and then start cutting budgets and eliminating programs. The only guarantee here is that somebody is going to get the short end of the stick. We just don't know who it is.
If you have any thoughts/predictions, I'd love to hear them.