One of the pages is playing the bag pipes. Legislators are clapping and foot tapping outside the Senate chambers. Many JFAC Senate members have been up with budget staff trying to understand how we ended up with a 5% state employee reduction after all the work we have done to blend stimulus dollars into the budget and keep us from laying off people state wide. But the governor seems to be saying that since so many state workers are in Boise, he'd rather spend the money on highways. The House leadership has buckled down on their members to try to cut deeper into all parts of what the state does. The old starve the beast mentality, as if childhood health care, teachers in class rooms and people making sure that our drinking water does not get contaminated are some evil entity because they are paid for with tax dollars. This is the work of the state which we as tax payers pay our taxes for. We expect this of state government because we don't want a country in which the very wealthy get the kobe beef education, water and health care and the rest of us get the grizzled, greasy, big mac patty version. We know our state and nation are stronger if our people are well educated and have the skills they need to use their ingenuity to advance our economy and care for their families. We know crisis is expensive, that letting something simple go untreated because you can't afford care, means more cost for government and taxpayers down the line.
So we clap and the bag pipes play while the battles go on behind the scenes.
What is the role of government? How much can we cut before efficiency becomes inadequacy? How much costly crisis do we create when we underfund basic essentials and when let class sizes grow?