Saturday, August 29, 2009

Depends on what you mean by lean

From Explore Howard:

Ulman said he considers the county’s budget already to be lean. The county already has taken some cost-saving measures, he noted, including a four-day furlough plan in late December, a hiring freeze, reduction in take-home car allowances and the closure of the county television studio and print shop.

Here is a link to the operating budget that Ulman considers "lean". It always amazes me that $15 million is burnt up the library system (pg. 73) and $30 million is burnt up by Rec and Parks (pg. 118). And of course, more than half of the budget pays for education, since Allah and the Maryland Constitution forbid that parents should have to pay for any part of their children's education.


Anonymous said...

What would you do? Get rid of the libraries? Sell them to some entrepreneur who's been desperately waiting for the public library monopoly to end? Offer something more than kvetching.

A minor point of clarification: A large portion (not quite half, but more than a third) of Rec and Parks budget is paid for with user fees from its rec programs. Whether Rec and Parks should be running seemingly profitable recreational programs is another question -- one that you've ignored.

Also, it's pretty disingenuous to say that parents don't pay for any part of their kid's education. Do you think they're exempt from paying local taxes? Do you think they don't pay a premium on their houses in this county to have access to the good public schools?

Freemarket said...

I probably would get rid of libraries, but that is one of many reasons why I would not be able to get elected to any office anywhere on Earth. My point with this post was that that the budget is hardly "lean". The libraries that get built in this county (I know, now I am talking about the capital budget) simply flaunt our wealth. Their purpose is not to help the underprivileged or to serve any other social purpose. Although, I have heard that the East Columbia branch is basically a day care center.

As far as education goes, I'd love to see parents foot the bill directly for their children's education. If that makes real estate cheaper and taxes lower for everyone in the county, all the better.

Anonymous said...

If people had to pay directly for more of what gov't does, maybe voters would be more interested in who they're voting for. If parents had to pay directly for education like private school families, maybe they'd be a bit more selective and schools that refuse to work well with families would disappear, followed by a rise in all student success.