This tired rhetoric just won't cut it
ON today’s front page we outline just some of the services that the States claims it may have to withdraw if it runs out of money – or doesn’t get GST to prop up the current funding model.
The senior States committees did as they were asked by Policy & Resources – actually making a remarkably good job of it – in outlining the kind of cuts they would make if budgets were slashed by 5, 10 or 15%.
Only two committees demurred – E&I said they'd rather charge for services, while Home Affairs said they done their list a year ago and it wasn't changing.
Of course much would be lost. In terms of headlines and media and public pressure alone, it’s a puzzle for a politician – would you rather take the opprobrium from the public in one hit over a few weeks on GST, or spend months and years defending each individual service cut from an angry public?
But when under pressure from the public about savings, the senior deputies involved will need to change their tune if they want to convince a sceptical public.
If the response to any and every demand for a cut is ‘which hospital ward or school do you want to shut?’ – as it was at Monday’s public meeting – then the voters will turn their backs. They know, as politicians do, the last thing to go will be health – while there is a case to close a primary school if the political will was there.
Small cuts or proper analysis of some of the issues – many of them now helpfully listed by committees – won’t fill a black hole by themselves, but would show the public that the States is working with them on economies, and not just surrendering on spending.