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‘Sense of the board’ needed on cuts in next year’s budget

There’s a time-honored practice used by Congress that conveys the sentiment of a majority of members. It’s not legislation and it’s not binding, merely an expression of the will of members. It puts the House and Senate on record.

It’s call a Sense of Congress resolution.

Now that the new year is underway, it’d be a good time for the Baker County Commission to consider what we’ll call a Sense of the Commission resolution.

The board should go on the record soon, a full half-year before 2012-13 budget deliberations begin, on what it expects from its department chiefs and from the county’s five constitutional officers.

How about this? A ten percent reduction from the 2011-12 budget approved last fall — across the board, every department.

The goal is to avoid a debate again this fall over whether — and how much — the county can dip into a reserve fund that has shrunk from $12 million three years ago to about half that.

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Public employee unions, thoughts on teacher pay

Recent comments on this page from readers (they continue this week) about unionized government employees prompt one to ask how we got to this point.

As we enter an age of shrinking public revenues amid calls for a drastic reduction in the role of government in our republic, we find ourselves debating over whether governors should be trying to bust up public employee unions, or greatly reduce their power to hold taxpayers hostage.

Remember that FDR himself, the patron saint of intrusive government, declared that public workers should never be allowed to form unions. Such a system is fatally flawed, reasoned this liberal icon, because public unions aren’t really bargaining with management.

FDR was fine with private sector unions, except when they threatened national security, and reasonable people concur that, despite the corruption endemic at the leadership level, labor unions cleaned up a lot of messes in the private sector.

The natural tension at the bargaining table when representatives of the workers meet with management representing industry owners and stockholders carries with it a certain grudging honesty.

When public employees bargain with agency management who are also paid by public funds, guess who’s not at the bargaining table?

You guessed it; the taxpayers.

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Political ads on TV … They lyin’

The onslaught is coming. Grab your kids and take cover. And whatever you do, make sure your DVR is working properly.

After Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, and then South Carolina, we’re next. My inbox at the office is already bursting at the seams with political junk mail from all of the Republican nominee hopefuls. Save one.

Mr. Reasonable himself, Jon Huntsman.

This poor guy doesn’t have a chance in the presidential primary. He’s too pragmatic, logical and calm to get the base’s blood pumping. And he’s not dogmatic enough to win over any of the large conservative constituencies: evangelicals, libertarians or free marketers.

He might have been able to corral the war hawks, but now they’re all Democrats who get giddy when they hear that President Obama’s killed more terrorists than any president before him, thanks to Predator drone strikes and more surgical attacks by US special forces.

Maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the point.

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Things he doesn’t want to see in 2012

It is around 6 am on January 2, 2012 as I write this column. Why in the world am I up so early on a day that is supposed to be a holiday where all I do is sit and watch football and eat junk?

Simple.

My good luck 2012 meal didn’t agree with me.

My wife is convinced that eating collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Years Day will bring me good fortune. The only way I can explain this superstition is that from that moment on, the year can only get better.

Other good luck foods include grapes (at least 12 for each month of the year), long lo mein noodles, lentils and pomegranates.

Like everyone else, I am hoping that the new year is better than the last and that the Mayans were mistaken.

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