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Tough Choices Ahead Despite Favorable Economic News

by Brenda Peluso

I thought that Chris Hall of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce put it very well this week when commenting on the fact that our options for meeting ongoing budget gaps are higher taxes, cuts to services, or the reorganization of government:

The question that remains is this:  Which combination of the three options gives us all the best chance at long term prosperity? Lots of higher taxes will hurt those least able to pay, and slow job growth.  Lot of service cuts will disinvest in the very things we need to grow – like better education and infrastructure.   Lots of government reorganization will come into conflict with our tradition of local control, and our natural fear of change.

I would add that thoughtful reorganization takes an investment in both financial resources and a long-term commitment to the process.  Long-term commitment will be just as hard to come by as a financial commitment.  When administrations can change every 4 years and legislatures can turn over every two years, it is really tough to commit to a process that could easily take 10 years to accomplish well.

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