These are serious times. The economy is still sputtering both here and abroad. Americans face high unemployment, home foreclosures and rising prices for food, gas and other necessities.
Serious times call for serious solutions, particularly when it comes to how local tax dollars are spent. And we require serious elected officials to lead on these issues. Conversely, taxpayers don’t deserve the kind of political hijinks we saw Washington County commissioners engage in Sept. 8. That’s when commissioners approved a new $34 million general fund budget for the county that included nearly $800,000 in last-minute cuts.
These cuts would be applauded if they were made thoughtfully and designed to save tax dollars, but they weren’t. They were in fact designed to embarrass and harass the county mayor. Equally troubling is these cuts could cost the county much more (such as the loss of grant funding) down the road. That’s why two committees of the County Commission have recommended amendments to restore spending for economic development, First Tennessee Human Resource Agency and other essential items.
President Abraham Lincoln once said: “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
The county commissioners who pushed for these ill-conceived spending cuts were content to shirk their fiscal responsibilities of tomorrow by engaging in the petty politics of yesterday.
On Monday, commissioners will have a chance to right the wrong they did earlier this month. These are serious time and we need serious elected officials to step up to the plate and do the right thing. Political playtime is over. Commissioners must approve the budget amendments that will be offered by the Budget and General Health and Welfare committees.
County taxpayers will be watching.