VACostCutting

Friday, October 10, 2008

Budget cutting

Once again, Jim Bacon has an insightful post up on Bacon's Rebellion - this time on the Governor's proposed budget cuts.

What really concerns us though, is the continuing "culture of government" problem that failed to enact meaningful long-term reforms the last time this happened. Rather than using the past budget shortfalls as an opportunity to truly re-think the way government operates and put into place substantive reforms to the overall operations of government, it was easier to settle for quick-and temporary-fixes that didn't get to the real root of the problems.

Bacon's bottom line: Emergency measures are fine for emergencies, which the current budget crisis clearly is. But the culture of state government is such that the costs inevitably creep back ito the system. The Warner administration cut hundreds of jobs, but a few years later, state employment levels hit new highs. In other words, there were few long-term gains in productivity that allowed the state to do the same work with fewer employees. Imposing temporary austerity measures is no way to run an organization for long-term efficiency.

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