How To Compensate For Budget Difficulties Is Taxing Issue

AS I SEE IT

Trim To The Bone, Don't Ask For More

October 20, 1991|By Sharon Hornberger

The citizens of Carroll and Maryland are telling their elected officials the same thing that presidential candidate George Bush declared in 1988, "Read my lips. No new taxes." Our lips are being read in Carroll. Delegate Richard C. Matthews, Republican chairman of the Carroll delegation, advises that all its members, no matter what the party affiliation, have taken a stand against new taxes.

Most states arefacing tough times in a nationwide recession. Several major factors have led to this situation.

Demands for more government services to help the less fortunate grew as people were unwilling to assist neighbors through charities.

There have been major shifts in employment trends, and manufacturing has slowed to almost a standstill.

Fewer citizens 18 to 64 are working and paying taxes. This is due partly to increased unemployment, but also is due to a greater number of people taking early retirement.

The tax base has been affected. After retirement, citizens require the same government services, but their incomes decrease and they pay lower taxes.

With fewer taxpayers, there are fewer tax dollars to support educational needs of younger citizens.

Our deficit situation will require scrutiny of our state's expenses and spending.

The most important step is to cut spending and costs in every agency, every department and every office. No office should be exempt.

Cuts must start in the executive branch. The governor and his staff must lead by example and take their share of cuts and layoffs.

State legislators must make cuts. A total of $376,000 this year went to 188 legislators who each got a $2,000 raise. They, too, must lead by example. Cut expense accounts and out-of-state travel.

The judicial branch must accept its share of cutbacks.

Legislators must review every government-assistance program. Carroll's Department of SocialServices and citizens it serves will be hard hit.

Aid to Familieswith Dependent Children will see cuts, as will General Public Assistance. These programs help Carroll's needy. Some programs, however, have grown to such a point that some recipients no longer look to them as safety nets, but rather as a paycheck that is deserved and owed.

Now is the time to reconsider workfare. Welfare recipients ought towork to offset part of the cost of the benefits they receive.

Carroll's Youth Service Bureau and the Rape Crisis Center are worthwhileendeavors. But, when we can't afford them, they, too, have to be slashed to bare bones.

Art in public buildings is something taxpayerscan no longer afford. Do we want art or computers in our schools, paintings or guards in our prisons, sculptures or adequate handicapped facilities in stadiums?

Aside from resident troopers, who deserve special consideration since they are our "county police force," the use of state vehicles for employee commutes should be ended. Citizens can no longer be expected to foot the bill.

Carroll's elected officials will have to bite the bullet and live within their budgets. Thepork barrels are gone and best forgotten. It will be a long time before new roads come here or to any other area.

Carroll municipalities must show concern for the needs of their own citizens, not those of another state.

The Historical Society of Carroll County and the Arts Council again will have to depend on private contributors, not government funding.

Only the bare necessities for government will be funded. Isn't that what government was meant to do all along?

Government must learn to live on less money, just as you and I must learn to live within our own budgets.

In turn, you and I must learn to expect less from government. We must learn to take care of ourselves, our families and to keep an eye on our own neighborhoods.

Gone are the days when we can pay government to solve all our personal problems and all the ills of society.

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