Cuts, what cuts?

If you don’t normally read the Albuquerque Journal, you’re missing out. There’s my plug for dead-tree media. But in all seriousness, there have been some really interesting articles on the paper’s opinion pages recently and I’m not just saying that because one of ours ran yesterday. One recent opinion piece called “Schools Can’t Take More Cuts” argued that “Our schools have already felt the pain” of the state budget crisis.

The author goes on to talk about reductions in “unit value” for operational funding, but doesn’t really get specific until he says “this year’s budget reduced the state’s commitment to public education by $165 million and supplanted that amount with non-recurring federal stimulus money.” Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this is a long-term problem, but it is obviously not a “cut” and the schools haven’t experienced any pain thus far.

The rest of the article talks about the potential for future cuts to education, a threat that is very real if the budget situation does not improve, but the fact is that our schools have really been spared any significant cuts to date. We’ll see what happens in the special session.

Another article worth reading was written by the “Santa Fe Alliance.” The idea behind the group seems to be “buy local,” but the article “Public Sector Spending Important to Economy,” is nothing but a justification for bigger government and bad economics. The short rebuttal to their entire article is that while government can perform some useful functions in our society, every dollar that government spends has to be taken from businesses or private citizens. Usually, there is a significant “dead weight loss” because businesses and citizens undertake less economically-worthy projects in order to avoid the tax man. Thus, $1 of taxes actually costs society $1.25 or something on that order (it depends on what is being taxed).

It is shocking that even in Santa Fe you’d have businesses on board with such a big-government, high-tax organization like the Santa Fe Alliance.