Friday, August 22, 2008

Transparent budgets?

Barton Hinkle over at the Richmond Times Dispatch looks at the latest budget crisis in "State Leaders Will Have to Cut Somewhere -- But Where?"

Last week this newspaper suggested, in the editorial, "Hard Times," ways the commonwealth might close its fiscal gap -- from dipping into the rainy-day fund to layoffs to spending cuts. The paper voiced agreement with Gov. Tim Kaine that it is wiser to make selective cuts than to slash both essential and non-essential spending equally. The editorial singled out several agencies "whose functions are not crucial" to the state -- from the Virginia Tourism Authority and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

On the one hand, everyone seems pretty much in agreement this go round that we need to look at cutting spending- rather than once again raising taxes. On the other, the question looms of can we agree on where those cuts should be made?

Hinkle writes:

"Don't tax you, don't tax me -- tax that fellow behind the tree," the late Sen. Russell Long famously said. Virginia, facing a budget shortfall on the order of $1 billion, is hearing a variation on the theme: "Don't cut you, don't cut me . . . ."

If only we could actually get a clear view of where and how all that money was actually being spent rather than this mess....


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