The Clarion-Ledger has reported that the first draft of next year’s budget is in. Republican leaders are “unapologetic” about the fact that it comes in at $76 million less than last year’s budget.
House Speaker Phil Gunn has reiterated that government must ever and always appreciate the need for efficiency in spending citizens’ money. I am certain that taxpayers want their money spent wisely. However, I am not certain that the state can continue to spend less, but to expect more from its agencies. This budget essentially kicks the can down the road when it comes to improving the state’s infrastructure. There’s a 4% cut for universities, and a whopping 39% cut to the Mississippi Development Authority. The budget also institutes a 3.9% cut to general education and administration, which is one source of funding for MSMS.
I respect the fact that most taxpayers don’t want to spend more on government. However, I wonder if we have reached a tipping point when it comes to balancing efficiency and legitimate expenditures. To wit: in a global economy, where we must compete with people from around the world for jobs and scholarships and development opportunities, when will our leaders see education, infrastructure, and development as investments rather than obligations? It would appear that we would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound.