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Archived: EDITORIAL: $20 Million Savings Could Add Up

Twenty million here and twenty million there and pretty soon you’re talking about big money.

But to hear some of the comments being made in response to the Governor’s announcement that he plans to cut off thousands of state workers from their state-paid-for cell phones, one would think that a savings of $20 million is a pittance.

Or hardly worth the effort.

Rubbish.

With health and human services, childcare and seats at our state colleges on the line, every penny counts.

Everyone agrees that cuts must be made to the state’s budget. Immediate action is needed to get state expenses under control. The problem is not everyone agrees on how we should do it.

This attitude that sees a $20 million savings as meaningless is what got government and taxpayers into the financial fix we’re in today.

“Don’t cut …, it costs nothing compared to… ”

“Don’t charge more for …, or you’ll drive everyone out of the state.”

You fill in the blanks.

In the old days, people were told that if they take care of their pennies, the dollars would take care of themselves. Today, some of the critics of the governor’s proposed budget say that by focusing on “little” things like cutting cell phones and not renewing auto leases, he is stepping over dollars to pick up dimes.

We disagree.

Too often, it’s the little things that drive expenditures out of control.

While the people in every state agency, department, fund, and program may think that they have already been cut to the bone, the facts are that more cuts are on the horizon.

Rather than looking at things like the loss of a cell phone as petty, we’d all be wise to start taking a hard look for the pennies that have fallen through the budgeting cracks.

We don’t know about you, but we would much rather see $20 million worth of cell phones get cut, than $20 million more for childcare.