To the editor:
Daily, we receive bad news about our state and local budgets. It’s time our “leaders” faced reality. Kansas has been in a budget deficit crisis for four years. Yet it continued to spend. Moaning and gnashing of teeth won’t help. In some cases, tax breaks helped cause this problem. In others, restrictive policies drove employers away, or pet projects of legislators inflated the budget. Still others were legitimate programs that grew beyond our ability to support them.
The state, county, city and school district have no choice but to reduce their expenditures. That means cuts across the board for every program. Yes, this will hurt. Some programs are more deserving of funding than others, but the truth is that current spending levels cannot be sustained. Raising taxes seems like a way to increase revenues, but it’s counterproductive. State and local revenues are down because we, consumers, have little to spare to boost the economy. Take from my paycheck, or business income, and I’ll be less likely to spend, hire or expand, meaning less revenue for all these entities.
The state, county, city and school district need to cease some operations, hold taxes and fees at current levels, and reduce staffs, programs and hours of operation. If they continue business as usual, like the water department, which anticipates a 8-10 percent increase in fees next year, the economy will continue to shrink.
It’s way past time we held the line on spending and gave the people who produce in this economy some breathing room.