This last election cycle demonstrated how often the truth is misconstrued in the interest of one person or political persuasion moving their objectives forward. Take the stimulus for instance. According to many pundits the stimulus program is a failure and the current administration gets all the blame. However, are you aware that the stimulus program began with the Bush administration?
President Bush started the stimulus program with 152 million in tax refunds to taxpayers. Then he followed up with a baitand switch bailout package costing $700 billion. I say bait-andswitch because it was advertized to us as the repurchase of toxic debt to free up the financial system, and ended up being investment money and “bonus” money to Wall Street.
On the state level Gov. Perry was adamant about not taking federal stimulus funds because of the so called strings attached. However, it is common knowledge that the state in fact balanced this biennium budget with $17 billion in federal stimulus funds. We won’t have that this time so a balanced budget will be a much more difficult task this go around.
Adding to our problems are redistricting issues and the reality that we have a great number of freshman representatives coming on board. The recipe for success becomes difficult at the least with what lies ahead. I am not sure 140 days will be sufficient time for our leaders to work out the issues. However, I can assure you that it will be sufficient time for them to “run” some things through that you and I will feel the effects of in the near future.
I read some comments in a local paper recently that really got me to thinking. It was referring to the challenges of living in a low service state. The article supports what local government has been preaching for a long time. Cutting services at the state level can get really low down since reduced state funding encroaches on county resources and puts the squeeze on cities and towns.
There is no doubt that services will be cut, and cut severely in some instances. The truth of the matter is that you can let those in Austin, the lobbyists, special interest groups and others decide where and how much to cut, or you can get involved and be part of the process.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard individuals say “My vote does not count.” The evidence that it does has been made clear nationwide by the last election. A write in candidate for Senator in Alaska won because people got involved and made their vote count.
Those that are elected at all levels of government are elected to represent us, the people. We the people have a part to play in the process of government. That role is to learn what the truth is, do not be fooled by slick marketing and make sure that our voice is heard.
Take time now, before the new Legislative Session begins on Jan. 11. 2011, to learn all you can about state government and how cuts at that level will affect your pocketbooks at the local level. Whatever you political persuasion is we will all be affected by the actions that occur during this next legislative session.
There is no doubt cuts will have to be made to get a balanced budget. But balancing it on local government is not acceptable. Take time to get involved and help direct what goes on in Washington and especially Austin. As citizens of Texas we are and can be the biggest most effective lobby of all if we just step up and be heard. If we do not speak out we have no one to blame but ourselves.