Week of Reckoning
We have documented the income constraints that the county is looking forward to.
Now, this week, all of the departments are gearing up to say why they need a piece of the ever shrinking pie. The first couple of days look pretty straight forward as the courts and the Sheriff’s department joins other county departments hoping to keep what they have. The interesting day looks to be on Thursday when they have a full day consisting of items like: Heath department, Rape Response, DFACS, Keep Hall Beautiful, Ga. Mountains RDC, Chamber of Commerce, Community Service Center, Home Development Resources, Veteran’s Outreach, etc….
In times of ever shrinking budgets, when cuts have to be made, sometimes these programs look like target rich environments. The problem is most of these programs have substantial constituencies and advocates. How would you like to be the politician that recommends that we cut the “Family Ties/Prevent Child Abuse program” (3:00-3:15)? That becomes the problem with these types of programs; when the economy is going good and the coffers are full, it seems like a no brainer to fund the “Gateway House” (2:15-2:30) or the “Stillwaters Counseling Center” (2:30-2:45), but when the economy sours and employees are asked to forgo retirement and pay via furloughs, then these things become ongoing drag to the budget.
The choices on the items on Thursday’s agenda will tell us a lot about our commissioners. We will know if they are willing to make the tough choices on the budget or will they succumb to the politics and let these items pass through unscathed? Either way, I think there will be plenty of pain to go around. Even if the commission decides to defund all of these ancillary programs, there probably is not enough to meet the reduced revenue stream. I think that the interesting thing to watch how the Republican Commissioners react to these programs. The all Republican board will have to come to grips with these GOP principles:
Helping those around you is worthwhile- The Republican Party believes in the value of voluntary giving and community support over taxation and forced redistribution.
Small government is a better government for the people- The Republican Party, like our nation’s founders, believes that government must be limited so that it never becomes powerful enough to infringe on the rights of individuals.
You know what to do with your money better than government- The Republican Party supports low taxes because individuals know best how to make their own economic and charitable choices.
The balance will be the GOP principles vs. the politics of the next election. Can you see the campaign flyers now: Commissioner SoandSo voted to defund the Boys and Girls club of Hall County; or Commissioner NIMBY voted to defund the Economic Development Council with the Chamber; or Commissioner what’shisname hates women because he voted against the Rape Crisis Center? This is a time for tough decisions. Let’s see who has the guts to make them.
Hugh Hall County Akston