Mitch Pearlstein: A bit of context for the state budget crisis

  • Article by: MITCH PEARLSTEIN
  • Updated: December 8, 2008 - 8:07 PM

These are the moments that produce change, so let's be smart about it.

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farmeraDec. 9, 08 7:29 AM

Privatizing public functions and institutions look very good for the short run, but are suspect for the long run, mostly because they are one-shot budget solutions. Beware! Pearlstein misses the point, as do most. Just because there is a recession does not mean that the state can shirk, delay, or offload its responsibilities and obligations. Roads, bridges, police and fire protection, education, regulation, ..., are responsibilities that are ongoing, regardless of economic conditions. Because of their continuing necessity even in bad times, they should be similarly funded by taxing schemes that are more consistent than income taxes: sales tax or VAT, and property tax. The wild swings of govt income will be damped down to much more manageable levels, with fewer and smaller but sudden budget cuts that otherwise contribute to and worsen current economic troubles.

editor25Dec. 9, 08 9:10 AM

Is there a more mealy-mouthed commentator out there than Mitch Pearlstein? What, exactly, did he say in this piece?

pumiceDec. 9, 08 7:35 PM

What if: (1) Non-political professionals in each State agency prioritized needs of the agency, prepared a coherent budget based on those prioritized needs and submitted the budget to the "deciders." What if (2) agency representatives were required to defend their budget? What if (3) Elected officials prioritized the priorities and (a) could produce a balanced budget by eliminating low priority items, or (b) realized there was no way to pay for the highest priority items with the available revenues? What if (4) no other legislative business could be conducted until the budget was complete?

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