Oh, and trust me – it ain’t gonna have much impact on your life.
I doubt you’ll even notice.
So what’s going on, exactly?
Well, earlier this week we learned that the Montana Historical Society is facing budget cuts of 16%, and this for an agency that only gets $5 million a year.
That’s hard for them, but again…ain’t gonna effect you and your family too much.
But could something?
You see, what everyone’s worried about now are the August 18 revenue numbers.
If Montana’s revenue comes in at less than $2.8 billion, we’ll automatically have more cuts to state agencies.
Right now it looks like revenues are going to come in $65 million lower than what’s projected (Um...what happened to the $200 million surplus we used to have?)
So my question about these cuts is…, ‘Who cares?’
I know a lot of department heads like the Montana Historical Society’s Bruce Whittenberg care, but who else does?
I suppose the staff that will lose their jobs care, as well as the staff that will have their hours cut.
So we have 36 agency or department heads, as well as…oh, let’s just say 25 staff members in each of those (24 are being affected at the Historical Society).
So that comes to 936 people.
About the population of Troy, maybe White Sulphur Springs.
Another way to look at it is these cuts will affect 0.09% of Montana’s population.
They sure won’t affect my family.
After reading the post on Logicosity today about the top-heavy university system, I think this even more.
I mean, these cuts aren’t even going to register on my radar, or the radar of my neighbors, or most of the people I drive past each day here in Missoula.
- We’re not public employees.
- We work in the private sector, often more than one job in that sector.
- We don’t have employer health insurance or benefits or retirement or anything like that.
- We don’t have stipulated pay raises that might or might not come about because of state revenues.
- We live in the real world.
Now, please remember that I’m the son of two Helena bureaucrats that began working for the state back in the 70s.
Before that I had great aunts and uncles working for the state in Helena.
So growing up I heard it up, down; left, right and every other way when it comes to state government.
State employees have always complained, and they’ll continue to do so long after you and I are gone.
Hey, if you don’t like it…come join me in the private sector!
But they rarely do, knowing that despite the low-to-nonexistent pay raises and the idiotic appointed-agency heads they have to slave-away under, working for the state is probably what’s best for them and their family.
Healthcare and retirement: it comes down to those two things.
Most of our state agencies can expect across the board, 0.5% cuts.
Doesn’t sound like too much, but the Department of Justice has a $190 million budget for this year and 0.5% of that is $950,000.
Whatever will they do?
You might remember last winter when 27 Highway Patrol jobs were on the line because of a possible $7.7 million cut to their budget.
Tim Fox rode in on his white horse and stopped that pretty quick.
I suppose a big fear here in Missoula is that UM won’t get all the money they want.
I can’t imagine that’ll be too hard to handle. Losing 4,000 students over the past couple years to the culture of binge drinking and rape was a tougher pill to swallow, in my mind.
The City of Missoula could also suffer, perhaps not getting as much grant money from the state as they once did.
This could impact the number of $10,000-here, $20,000-there studies we constantly do.
Oh, well – just raise taxes.
Yet another area that’ll be impacted are nursing homes, with 200 old people perhaps not getting a bed.
In fact, there are so many cuts to people with mental health issues, disabilities, and other problems that I can’t even list them all.
The IR did a good job listing them back in June.
Once again, this won’t affect me or my family.
I know you don’t want to hear me say that, but I live in the real world.
Hey, times are tough!
I’ve got 4-part time less-than-$10-an-hour jobs.
It’s very hard for me to sympathize with:
- State workers that may or may not be on the chopping block
- Old people that didn’t save enough for retirement or the perils of old age
- Sick and disabled people that live in a country that doesn’t care about them at the federal level
I’d like to care, but I’m too busy caring about my own problems…like how I can pay the rent each month and buy groceries each week and, God forbid, fix the 17-year-old car when it inevitably goes to hell.
Everyone’s got problems.
People in Colstrip have problems (though I don't hear them giving too much of a damn about these state workers that suddenly have their jobs on the line).
Some people will see those problems get worse with the inevitable budget cuts in Montana.
It’s just that most of us won’t.
The majority of us won’t.
And that’s the viewpoint the majority Party in the legislature took this spring when they instituted this plan.
I can understand that many don’t like this.
It’s just that this 'many' has proven incapable time and time again of doing anything about it.