Editorial: Cut government? Sure

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Publisher Matt Adelman, publisher@glenrock.com

The Wyoming Legislature this next session will have a battle on its hands. Lawmakers will have to cut – very deeply cut – spending because expected revenues are evaporating this year. So it’s no wonder they are already looking at every item as helping trim as much as $1.2 billion, some of which admittedly has already been done by the governor.

But looking at the nickels while ignoring the $100 bills won’t do much to reach their goal of matching spending with income. Every dollar helps a little, we grant you, but the big ticket items are where the real savings will show up.

So we have been looking at city, town, county and state budgets for obvious places to trim, or better yet, to axe altogether. Like legislators, though, we know whatever is suggested will be met with a torrent of opposition because someone will not like it.

So, with a little tongue in cheek, we have some thoughts for them to consider. First of all, for every dollar “saved” by eliminating public notices, $10 should be cut from the top end of government salaries. Douglas pays its city administrator in the $100,000 range (base salary), so if the city saves $5,000 a year in publication costs, it should cut the salary by $50,000, as an example. Over at the county offices, the commissioners make $34,350 a year and other top elected officials make around $90,000, so if they cut their public notice costs by $10,000, they would have to pay to work at the county.

Of course, all of that, as we said, was tongue in cheek simply to make a point. If the elected officials are intent on making the public notice debate solely about money, it can be. They and so many other constituencies which rely on tax dollars – from contractors to senior centers to economic development organizations to school resource officers – would not be too happy to have that discussion. Nor would we.

All of us rely on public spending for our livelihoods in some fashion, whether it is spending on street repairs and new sewer lines or purchasing food at a local restaurant or federal stimulus payments.

But the debate on public notices isn’t about money. That $5,000 isn’t going to bankrupt the Douglas Budget; but it could impact how much information you have to make decisions, including deciding who to vote for or how to stop a bad decision looking to be made at the next city council meeting. In places where the local newspaper has disappeared or cut back on the reporters who can question what is happening at City Hall or the courthouse, government costs have risen, in some cases by as much as 30%. One of the biggest increases? Public employee salaries, especially at the top end.

––Matt Adelman 


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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