A lack of imagination

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As Dennis Miller used to say, I don’t want to go on a rant here, but it beggars the imagination how glib some public officials can be when it comes to talk of budgets. This from Holland Selectman James E. Wettlaufer, in an article in the Springfield Republican about the town’s rejection of two Prop 2 1/2 overrides in yesterday’s election:

“This means we will have to sit down and craft a budget that fits within the levy limit, which means reduced services.”

Crafting municipal budgets within the levy limit is what the law intended. Under the law, it is what town selectmen are supposed to do. It’s not supposed to be a last resort.

Then, of course, Mr. Wettlaufer immediately jumps to the supposition that services will have to be reduced. Can he honestly claim there are no savings to be had anywhere in the town’s government simply by operating it more efficiently? I find that hard to believe.

For the 10 readers I have out there, I should disclose I am a Democrat. And I do believe, as Oliver Wendell Holmes did, that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. But why does it seem that the only solutions public officials are ever able to offer in the face of a tight budget are increasing revenues or cutting services? Is there really that little imagination in the public realm these days?