Better ways to cut

Published 9:58 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

Those responsible for approving local governments’ budgets during this era of shrinking resources should exhaust every option before giving taxpayers the false choice of adequate school funding or higher taxes.

Unfortunately, that’s often how the debate is framed, especially in Southampton County, where many citizens are angry about the Board of Supervisors’ intention to raise real estate and vehicle taxes to cover a large budget shortfall for fiscal 2011.

In both prosperous and lean fiscal times, education and public safety should be a community’s highest priorities. There are plenty of other areas to cut if elected leaders will dig deep enough and think creatively enough about how to deliver government services more efficiently.

Until local governments have dissected every function, eliminated waste and consolidated services where appropriate, we reject categorically the notion that the only way to adequately fund schools is through higher property taxes. So should citizens.