Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Abdication of fiscal responsibility

Today's Advocate has a piece that should have appeared during the special legislative session. The article focuses on where budget cuts actually came from versus where they should have come from. Of particular note is the budget-cutting inaction of the senate in post-hurricane Louisiana:

Nearly half the 39 senators are now on record against cutting their own budget in bad fiscal times.
That's pathetic. But even worse is the state's continued acceptance of health care and education as the only budget items eligible for cuts. A look at any pre-hurricane national ranking suggests these are two areas where the state can least afford to skimp (of course the state could also stand to reprioritize its spending in those issue areas, but that's a topic for another time). Bottom line: If it's the state constitution that makes this targeting of the most vulnerable the always first-picked fruit in difficult times, then it's time to amend the constitution to bring some common sense into the state's budgeting process. One final thought: If the legislature responsible for passing a $18.2 billion budget during its last regular session can't be compelled to make cuts on its own when it's undoubtedly the right thing to do with the state in such a time of crisis, then it's time to send them home because they've just demonstrated where their priorities are. And for you keeping score at home, those priorities just aren't in line with the best interest of the state and its people.