Honest Budgeting – by Peter Nye
The padded budget strategy is a thing of the past, at least for now. I am describing a budgeting strategy that involves a modestly beefed-up budget with a few expanded programs and worst-case scenarios built in in order to avoid any painful cuts following a loss at referendum.
As disingenuous as this might seem, the voting mentality that created it is equally abusive. Padded budgets combat the portion of the population who each year vote “No” the first couple times to keep our town leadership honest.
Now we will be handed a Board of Education budget proposal that looks as though it has already faced multiple referendum defeats. The Chinese program is gone, along with three elementary classroom positions. Five literacy paraprofessionals, a part-time custodian, and a library assistant have been eliminated. What makes this courageous is that this is all before our first chance to “keep them honest.”
This year, agonizing decisions have been made in an attempt to earn the trust of the public. On May 10, we have a chance to show our support for this kind of responsible budgeting, hopefully we deserve it. Honest budgets don’t deserve artificial defeats. I encourage your voters to vote “Yes” on May 10 and formally usher in an era of honest budgeting.