‘Spending unabated’

Yes, there are plenty of reasons to criticize the performance of Gov. (Jim) Gibbons. But to suggest — as some have — that his proposals to address the state budget shortfall are wildly unreasonable is flat out nonsense.

Consider Tuesday’s USA Today, which featured a front-page story headlined, “Spending unabated in many states.” Turns out some states — particularly a few run by Democratic governors — are continuing to spend wildly despite lagging tax collections. They expect Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and U.S. taxpayers to bail them out eventually.

Would the Gibbons bashers prefer he took such an irresponsible approach?

“If Washington will wave a magic wand and bail you out,” said South Carolina’s Republican governor, Mark Sanford, “the obvious answer in politics is to avoid decisions you don’t want to make.”

Meanwhile, several states have undertaken painful budget examinations that mirror those advocated by Gov. Gibbons.

In Georgia, USA Today reports, the governor “has ordered most state agencies to cut budgets by 8 percent, furloughed state workers and increased fees at public colleges.” In Indiana, the governor “has ordered 10 percent reductions in executive-agency budgets and no pay increases for state employees.” In Maryland, “about 67,000 state employees have been required to take unpaid days off.” In Washington, the governor suggested “that pay raises for state workers be dropped.”

This is today’s reality. The partisan snipers can hammer away at Gov. Gibbons all they like, but the fact remains that he and his budget team aren’t doing anything much differently than their counterparts all across the country.

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