I happened to be on campus Wednesday, Jan. 16 and picked up a copy of the Daily News. When I read the editorial for the day titled "State of state address lacks substance," I thought I was reading an editorial written by the editor of an elementary school newspaper.
Where has the Daily News been? In the last six to eight months, Gov. Frank O'Bannon and Lt. Gov. Joseph Kernan have crisscrossed the state laying out their plan for addressing the state's fiscal problems.
On Dec. 18 the House Ways and Means Committee met in a public setting on campus to discuss the governor's proposals and to hear alternative solutions from the public. The governor's state of the state speech is designed to challenge the legislature to come to grips with a problem they all understand very well. It is not a speech to educate the public, apparently in which no one has been listening anyway.
The governor's job is to lead and propose a solution; he has done this. If you don't agree with his solution, you have an obligation to propose an alternative. When you say "cut spending," be specific: what would you cut?
It is easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize. It is much harder to step forward and take the heat required to lead.
My own personal opinion is that we need to get our heads out of the sand in this state and this country.
The only ones I see sacrificing are the young people in our armed forces and their families. Everyone else is clamoring for tax cuts and spending cuts, but no one wants their pet project cut. Had we reacted this way in World War II, we would be speaking German in this country today.
My own proposed solution is to recognize that our economy has changed in a major way over the past two decades. We are no longer a manufacturing economy; we are a service economy and we need to broaden our tax base by recognizing this and extend the sales tax to services. I know few politicians with the guts to say this, let alone propose it, but I think it should be on the table.
There are a few legislators who would have no qualms about starving government or cutting education at the secondary or higher education level saying "They are doing the taxpayers a favor." Don't do me any such favors. I am fully prepared to sacrifice to pay for the war and the reduced revenue caused by the recession.
I hope the Daily News and its Ivory Tower constituency will join us in the real world and help find proposed solutions instead of sitting on the sidelines and bitching.
Hurley C. Goodall
former state legislator