Smitty: Bash the Governor. Meddle with the Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education, trying to convince them to stop pushing for regionalization of school districts entirely. Ignore the educational benefits of having larger districts (e.g. opportunity to offer more specialized classes that smaller districts wouldn’t have enough student interest in) and the cost savings that come from regionalized districts (e.g. fewer school buildings to heat and maintain), and focus on scoring political points at the Governor’s expense. Be proud of getting all that per diem bonus money while local schools get screwed, and refuse to take a 5-day unpaid furlough, in spite of going on Christmas vacation rather than working to fix the budget crisis.
Me: Cut the legislature’s $18 million slush fund. Find ways to raise revenue that don’t hurt the economy like the sales tax does (if the legislature had done this in the beginning, we wouldn’t have to make 9c cuts now. But they just figured, hey there’ll be a linear increase in revenue from the sales tax because there’s no way it could possibly affect consumer purchases). Give the Governor the authority to fulfill his responsibilities to the state’s citizens. Pressure the Auditor and AG to look into Tim Cahill’s pay to play schemes and the high-priced defense attorneys the state provides for various officials and former officials in ethical trouble. Protect municipalities from unfunded “local option” commitments through legislation treating funding promises by the state as unfunded mandates if municipalities make commitments they can’t get out of when the state cuts funding from promsied levels.
I’m sure I can think of more; this is just a spur of the moment response to Smitty’s comments in ther Berkshire Eagle and some of the uninformed comments made on BMG. Let’s put the blame where it belongs: the legislature has refused to accept its fair share of the burden throughout the crisis, and needs to be held accountable.