Before you read on, I invite you to first watch this video that recently aired on NBC featuring communities being forced to make extreme cuts. It’s a “sign of the times” or so they say. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/vp/44910124#44910124
Proposing government employees bring their own toilet paper to work in an effort to save money? That’s really extreme. This is truly a sign of the times—a sign that governments are continuing with the struggle to do more with less, or as Brian Williams put it, “less with less.” Have you started to consider extreme cuts that once may have seemed unthinkable? How exactly can governments continue to deliver the same programs with the same quality of service on an extremely reduced budget? I don’t think there is an easy answer to this question.
Another controversial question is how governments are determining where to cut resources. For the sake of citizens and the programs they depend on, one can only hope that research has gone into these decisions and towns are relying on facts and data and not intuition and gut feelings. Does your town have the data to measure what services should be cut and the resulting impact on the community?
I think the bigger question here needs to be will short term cuts provide long-term benefits and is there a way for governments to operate more efficiently while still improving the services that exist? Without making this assessment, a simple line-item budget cut here, could spell disaster over there. How will citizens react to continuous cuts, how would you react if your town proposed some of the cuts in this video?
The truth is towns across the nation are being forced to have the “where to cut in order to save” discussion. Has your town had this talk? What cuts have you seen made recently? Have there been any within your town, or do you think it can’t happen where you live? I invite you to post your thoughts and comments here.