Framing the Dialogue

Funding Kerflufle

As TEA party, conservative (and even Andrew Cuomo) governors take swings at trying to prevent their states from bankruptcy all options to balance budgets are on the table. Unfortunately for many previously “favored” programs raising taxes in a crippled economy will not go over well with the voters and so axes are swinging toward their tax dollars or teat if you wish.

Pennsylvania’s Governor Corbett unveiled a proposed budget which had some pretty deep cuts except for the legislature (I guess he knows who will approve or disapprove his budget). His most “controversial” cuts came in the form of a proposed 50% cut in aid to local colleges. They, of course, cried poor as if Corbett was taking bread and water from their mouths even though their annual tuition increases were typically around five times the rate of inflation. Corbett reminded them of their duplicity and suggested that they look within their budgets for belt tightening rather than passing along more increases to their students. Interestingly enough the thought of losing funding did not dissuade Penn State from holding a director’s meeting in The Big Apple (in case you didn’t know that is in a different state and a rather pricey place to congregate). Corbett declined to attend even though he was on the board.

I find it interesting that folks are all in favor of cuts as long as it’s not their funding that is cut. I have been seeing a lot of the following lately from groups (I modified the name to protect the unfunded):

(your name here) Funding Eliminated — We Need Your Help!

State funding for (your name here) has been eliminated in its entirety from the governor’s proposed budget for 2011-12. As a user and supporter of (your name here), we need your help!

Please contact your local state senator and representatives (as well as Governor Tom Corbett) and ask that they restore funding for (your name here). When preparing letters or emails, remember to share how you use (your name here) and explain how important this resource is to your place of work.

The pleas are heartfelt, but the fact remains that there is not enough money anymore; and any funding restored to (your name here) has to come at someone else’s expense. I once had a boss who got tired of naysayers and insisted that if one of his managers didn’t like some task, function, or duty they could only complain about it if they had a solution. That cut back on a great deal of whining, at least during meetings, but also produced some innovative ideas. So I submit that if you send the above note to elected officials you need to add this paragraph,

We understand that funding is tight, but funding for (your name here) is much more important than the funding for (their name here) and we proposed that their funding be cut to replace our funding. We agree that tough decisions need to be made and would feel more comfortable if (their name here) felt the pinch rather than (your name here).

You know that this is being said behind closed doors anyway. Why not shine a little light on the “negotiations?”

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