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  • Outside the Beltway: Missouri's Mission Impossible - Downsizing Government

    Economic realities are slapping states in the face as they come to terms with the fact that they can’t afford costly government programs amid declining revenues. Though many states are on a path toward economic ruin, some legislators in Missouri are taking heed and cutting spending.

    The Associated Press reports that a Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week to eliminate state funding for several government programs, reducing state expenditures by $506 million.

    The committee’s actions are incredibly significant, given the difficulty that comes with eliminating government programs, once enacted. The AP notes that some of the Republican Missouri senators “have resorted to quoting an observation made nearly a half-century ago by Ronald Reagan”:

    “Government programs, once launched, never disappear,” the future president said in a 1964 speech in support of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. “Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

    Other states, though, aren’t finding as much success in addressing their budget shortfalls.

    New York has a $9.2 billion budget deficit and is passing a series of emergency spending bills this week to keep the government running, according to Buffalo Business Reports. It doesn’t have funds to pay for union salary increases or construction projects, and the state is considering a mix of “sin tax” hikes for cigarettes and sodas, new borrowing, and cuts to education.

    Massachusetts might bet on resort casinos and slot machines to solve their budget woes, despite gambling being rejected there seven times in the last 14 years. And some 2,500 miles away, Arizona is witnessing a bare-knuckle fight over a plan to raise sales tax from 5.6% to 6.6% to cover the state’s massive budget gap. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is campaigning for the tax increase and telling crowds, “The checkbook is overdrawn, we’ve maxed out the credit cards, we’ve mortgaged the house.”

    It’s the same story across the fruited plain. What’s causing the problem? The Pew Center on the States cites symptoms including: major drops in revenue, growing budget gaps, increasing unemployment, high foreclosure rates, a supermajority requirement for state legislatures to pass budget bills (which includes making budget cuts or raising taxes), and troubles managing long-term fiscal matters and budgetary processes.

    The good news for Missourians is that some of their legislators have the willpower to make the cuts they need to get the state’s budget on track. Other states might not be so lucky.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to Outside the Beltway: Missouri's Mission Impossible - Downsizing Government

    1. arizona dennizen says:

      Arizona's legislature is passing the buck… we have huge educational budgetary waste… but nobody is willing to cut those budgets… the "its for the children" scare tactics have all politicians of every stripe quaking in their boots…

      Arizona should hope this tax increase fails… its supposed to be "temporary"…

      It will never go away… and likely not one dime will be spent on basic education…

    2. Linda Goodman, Italy says:

      Gosh, what a novel approach. When you are short on funds, you CUT BACK ON SPENDING!!!! The public has known this for years, it's about time the government tried it.

    3. C.J. Brown says:

      While I am not able to live there, due to my husband's work, I am still and again so proud of my home state. I would call what they are doing, "fiscal maturity".

    4. Shane Whitley, Fort says:

      You left us hanging with the question…what did Missouri cut?

    5. Denise Smith, Villa says:

      Unless I missed it…neither your article or the AP report included the fact that the Missouri Senate advertised the upcoming discussion on cuts. They asked for the PEOPLE to make suggestions on how to save Missouri dollars. I responded to that ad as did many others that I know.

      What a novel idea….ask the people! Who knew?

      Guess they don't call us the "Show-Me" state for nothing.

    6. KimH, Reno says:

      You need to mention HOW Missouri is downsizing govt, not just that they are. Yes, I'm sure I could dig and find the answer, but wouldn't it help your readership to have the whole story?

      Thanks for keeping the Faith and holding to our heritage! Blessings.

    7. Julie, Ky. says:

      Good for Missouri, if I lived in their state I'd be proud of the efforts to cut spending. In our personal budgets, if you can't make the house payment you sure don't build on.

    8. Greg Sober, Prescott says:

      There is significant opposition to the sales tax increase ballot proposition (May, 2010 vote). Its passage is by no means a sure thing. It was apparent from a Republican activist meeting this past weekend that party membership is not going to dictate support for Republican Governor Brewer's effort. Governor Brewer spoke along with other GOP candidates for governor (including Buz Mills and Dean Martin). Mr. Mills and Mr. Martin (both oppose the measure) were much more warmly received on this topic than was Governor Brewer.

    9. Michael, Missouri says:

      It's not just our State, several cities and towns have had to face this task! I am sooooo proud to live among solid thinking people who understand the concept of " …if we aint got it, we can't spend it!" Our Reps are "hearing us"!

    10. Greg, Yokosuka Japan says:

      Salus populi suprema lex esto. Language: Latin

      Translation: The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.

      Missouri unofficial state motto above.

      Let them lead the way and set the example! Publish on the front pages of all their newspapers and get out in the Washington papers, WSJ, etc…

      In the comic books for congress so they will read it (if it is too complicated, like a newspaper or healthcare bill, they will not read it.)

      Peace! Good on you Missiouri!

    11. Michael, TN says:

      What exactly is Missouri cutting from its government? Education perhaps? Kids can learn from TV just fine.

    12. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      The referenced AP article lists eight specific programs on the chopping block. Check the links to see them.

      As a native Missourian, I am proud.

    13. Ken Jarvis says:

      WHY has the HF

      NEVER mentioned a

      Sales Tax on Advertising – STONA?

      It would give the States $30 BILLION

      per year

      of NEW $$$?

    14. Tim AZ says:

      I doubt that the sales tax increase will pass in the coming election here in Arizona. It's time to teach these children (our govt.) to exist within their means. We must not let them have an increase in allowance. If anything we should lower their allowance to demonstrate some tough love.

    15. Leah Oregon says:

      If you go to the Associated Press reports it shows you the breakdown of cuts. Good for them. They asked the people then did it. It will be interesting to see if good hearted people will pick up some of the things their government is no longer doing. Neighbors helping each other with after school kid care things like that. Sounds like a great place to live. I will pray for their future.

    16. Lou, Tucson, AZ says:

      In Arizona, we have taxpayer funded day care, taxpayer funded cable access channels, taxpayer funded health insurance for illegals, education for illegal aliens, taxpayer funded ethnic studies programs that teach the superiority of Mexicans above everybody, and other benefits for illegal alliens. Why is it any surprise that illegal aliens flock here by the thousands on a daily basis? McCain has done nothing about it. Ditto for Kyl, Giffords, and Grijalva. Former governer Janet Incompetano whined about how it was the job of the feds to pay for border security. Now that Incompetano has been appointed to Homeland Security….crickets and silence from her.

      Arizona is doomed.

    17. Dean Pearson, Brookf says:

      Kudos to MO! In WI our resigning Dem. Gov Doyle dug the hole. The democrat controlled state gov't is working hard to pass even more dumb legislation before they recess in a couple of weeks! Unemployment is high and business and personal taxes are on the rise — a surefire plan to improve WI's economic outlook. NOT!
      Doyle won't have to deal with it. But, voters will deal with those who are left. In the mean time we root for the Milw Brewers and await Packer season. Let's hope they are not additional disappointments.

    18. RennyG Maryland says:

      What is so hard to do? If you can't afford to pay a union for doing a job, just shut it down, fire the union. There are other people that will work. So they take you to court, so be it, so you get put in jail, so be it! We are strong AMERICANS and we have to show it and not give in!! They can't afford to feed us if everyone is in jail and no one is paying the bill to feed us!!!!

      How do you stop a runaway train, anyway possible!!!

    19. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      Every state or Commonwealth needs to go over what each dept. is spending and see where the dollars are going. Abig red pen is needed to weed out thee waste. If an emplyee is not working 8 hours, find out why, are too m,any people doing the same job?? I know this is true in Fed. Gov't. my mom and step-father both worked fr Defense and they complained about prople working half time and being paid full time back in the 40's and 50's, it sure didn't get better. BHO sai8d he was going to do this act, red pencil all asted in every dept., again he didn't follow through, he hired more, his csars are an example, WE PAY for them, better nam for them HENCHMEN. 1st step, cut the waste.

    20. Robertson says:

      The usual suspects are being cut…..EDUCATION, services to the disabled and elderly.

      I'm so proud to live in a state where the budget is balanced on the backs of our children and the most vulnerable citizens. Meanwhile, reducing or reversing SOME corporate tax credits could account for the entire budget shortfall this year. After all, these "citizens of Missouri" were only to continue to qualify for the credits if they created jobs and revenue for the state. Newsflash….it's not working. Wake up Legislators….you cannot cut your way of of ths crisis, you have to generate some REVENUE!!!

    21. Tim AZ says:

      No Robertson Govt. must downsize. I suggest you move to California they still exist in fantasy land for now.

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