Friday, April 06, 2007

Government spending: A better way

We at Americans for Prosperity look forward to seeing the outcomes of Delegate Saxman & the Cost Cutting Caucus’s Operational Review Teams and applaud their initiative in taking this closer look at government spending and operations. This is a very important first step in examining and evaluating the spending of taxpayer dollars, and we are hopeful that it will begin to move government in a direction of greater efficiency and more accountability for how it spends our money.

Over the past week, AFP has traveled around the state holding a series of Town Hall meetings with the Attorney General focusing on state spending and needed budgeting reforms. We were pleased to be joined by Cost Cutting Caucus Chairman Delegate Saxman at one of these meetings in Staunton.

At these meetings, we discussed the tremendous growth of Virginia’s budget over the past decade, and the impact on the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Advocates of bigger government and higher spending try and explain that all this spending is necessary and that without it, government services will suffer.

But, as Jack McHugh, a legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, explains in his recent article, “The Myth of Big Spending,”

The big spenders hope that taxpayers will temporarily forget tax-funded services like government golf courses, fairs, arts grants, subsidized agribusiness, marketing campaigns and many other reasonable opportunities for belt tightening. Further, the public is expected to assume that it is impossible to operate core government functions any more efficiently or that they can’t be competitively contracted out for less.

McHugh continues:

In other words, the stark "either/or" proposition put forth by defenders of the status quo – either raise taxes or cut services – is a scam. It deliberately ignores a third way, which is to do more with less. In the private sector, this is always the first choice. In government, if considered at all, it is always the last choice.

That “third way,” or the “better way,” as we continue to advocate at AFP, is what we must continue to work for. That is what the Cost Cutting Caucus is working towards with these Operational Review Teams—not making it an either/or scenario, but striving to find better, more efficient ways to deliver state services at a lower cost to taxpayers.

We must continue to move in this direction, otherwise continued government growth will stifle our economy and our individual prosperity.


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