Letter: Budget cuts

March 14, 2014 

It was recently reported that the Idaho State Police requested a 22.7 percent funding increase for fiscal year 2015, that the governor trimmed it to 11.7 percent, and the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee trimmed it back to 5.8 percent. The first number, 22.7 percent, takes your breath away. However, it should remind taxpayers of one eternal truth: Every public sector agency always wants more money. In the most important sense then, every legislative body is all that stands between fiscal sanity and fiscal incontinence. Given that the mainstream press, academia, government dependents and the public sector generally favor increasing public expenditures, every fiscally prudent legislator must be prepared to be pilloried.

In the U.S. Congress, the longest-serving member in history, John Dingell, D-Michigan, recently announced he would retire. Among other things he cited was the lack of progress in passing bills in the recent Congress. The irony is breathtaking when you consider that most of the $17 trillion of federal debt accumulated with his votes, yet for the first time since the end of the Korean War, the most recent "do nothing" Congress has reduced spending (in nominal dollars).

Fred Birnbaum, Boise

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