Governor Schwartzenegger is wrong, very wrong to propose a 10% budget cut (Analyst takes no prisoners on budget cuts, LA Times, February 21, 2008). The proposed across the board cut has done its work: it has got everyone's attention. To actually implement it would be a grave mistake. Although it does, on the face of it, seem fair; it is not.
First, it is cowardly. No tough decisions have to be made.
Second, an across the board cut penalizes those units whose managers are running a tight ship. Unlike other units, they have little slack, so cuts will harm their core programs: cutting muscle instead of fat.
Third, as Elizabeth Hill has pointed out, it does not focus the legislature's attention on priorities. Successful downsizing demands prioritization.
Of course, if the Federal Government were to make good the likely decline in property tax revenue due to the foreclosure crisis, the Governor's job would be a lot easier.
Sent to Los Angeles Times