How Did This Happen?
In my opinion, the problem is not that these state and local governments do not have enough revenue and must cut funding to vital programs like education or charge fees for services like school bus transportation.
The underlying root is the same one plaguing the United States government. The results of decades of unrestrained spending and implementing unnecessary entitlement programs with no thoughts of how such spending would be funded in the future has come home to roost.
State, local or federal, these governments have done what the private individual cannot. When the federal government runs out of money, it just prints more (think devalued dollar, increased inflation and decreased buying power).
Across the board, governments simply take money from someone else (think taxpayers) whenever there is a shortfall. This happens because the government does not produce goods or services that generate revenue.
They are dependent on taxpayers for revenue and in a perfect world would only spend the amount that they collect in yearly tax revenues. However, this is not a perfect world and rather than adopt a balanced budget each fiscal year and then live within that budget, they spend, spend, and spend.
Now, I don’t know about you but if I were in financial trouble (I’m not…I have a balanced budget), I can’t go to my next-door neighbor and demand that he give me his money to bail me out. I would have to assess my finances and figure out where I could cut my expenses and if needed, I might have to take on a second job until I got my finances back under control.
If you keep current with the political news, you understand that this is not a popular concept in the United States. Government entities are addicted to uncontrolled spending with zero accountability and they don’t want to stop.
They forget they were elected as stewards of our tax monies and are expected to make wise spending and investment decisions. These monies do not belong to these politicians nor are they at liberty to spend them as they please.
A good word picture here would be stock broker. When you give your money to your broker, you have the expectation that he or she will use it to increase your net worth and pay any associated fees. If instead, he or she mismanages your money, you have a right to be angry and even seek legal restitution.
Instead of representing “we, the people" they have opted to represent “we, the politicians." Monies that could be funding education or defense are diverted to buy votes to keep them in power.
When/if taxpayers can force them to stop (think vote them out), instead of considering expenditures on a line by line basis, their remaining cohorts immediately cut essential programs like education, defense or other public services.
Wouldn’t it make better sense to cut funding to programs like the one that studies male Vietnamese prostitutes to understand disease transmission better ($500,000 per year) or cow flatulence ($700,000)? One wonders how much (if anything) school districts would need to charge for school bus transportation or other fees if they were to receive an infusion of that kind of funding from the federal government.