Let’s Allocate Our Budget Better

(Source: mediad.publicbroadcasting.net)
With the spending habits of our government, Gregoire has proposed budget cuts that have me shaking my head.

Gregoire is considering cutting funding for the state’s health care program for the poor, school districts, the length of supervision for all convicts, and higher education (ahem, us). She tried to show her sympathy by saying, “I don’t want anyone to think that I like these options,” and later went on to point fingers by claiming, “This is what Wall Street has done to our state, to our country.”

Higher education cuts are what are what gets me going the most. Tuition keeps going up, and scholarships are life savers. However, it has been proposed to completely cut the State Need Grant financial aid for students, saving the government about $303 million but affecting about 70,000 students.

This is how the system works: we are born into a social class. The lower we are income-wise, the more difficult it is for us to work our way up. We need a college education in order to get a good job. We can’t get to college if we don’t have money. We need a good job to pay for college. Now we’re back to the beginning of this vicious cycle.

By removing financial aid grants to students, it could be easy to simply just give up on attending school. The Washington Student Association proposed an alternative of reducing the eligibility or the maximum award amount. I would so much rather the grants go out in moderation rather than eliminating it all together so that the students who really need it can get the financial aid to attend college.

But that’s not all! Another part of the proposed budget cut is to reduce support to colleges and universities by 20 percent saving $222 million. Gregoire prefers reducing support by only 15 percent, which would save the government $166 million. It’s a better alternative, but wow, this is really going to negatively affect us at Bellevue College.

Though, if we look at what other great things tax payers’ dollars are going towards, it is simply appalling. According to King 5, since 2007, 350 state employees have been paid to simply stay at home during their shift and have phone access in the event their services are needed. They get their paycheck, vacation, sick days, and full benefits! This is known as home assignment because they were accused of wrongdoing on the job.

One state employee was paid for three years an annual salary of $36,500 to stay at home. Another state employee was on home assignment and was being paid $75,000 a year for about two years. What did they do with their time? One of the employees said in an interview that a day of work would consist of staying home playing FarmVille and making coffee. Fortunately, she was finally terminated from her position.

Problems like these accumulate into the need for budget cuts. If the government could have been more frugal with spending in the beginning, then perhaps such drastic cuts would not have to be made.

At least Gregoire got something right. She’s cutting back on cell phones for government employees. Too bad this couldn’t have been figured out sooner.

We need get rid of the little things. They add up.