Solution for city and state governments: Cut, cut, cut

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Today's Wall Street Journal laments the budget woes of city and state governments. Tax collections are down, so governments are winding up with budget deficits. Yet there's a very simple solution to this problem: Cut spending.

In an effort to avoid real cuts in spending, governments (like mine in Milwaukee) are telling citizens that they'll have to cut basic public safety services like police and firefighters. That's not true at all. It's simply a scare tactic used in the hope of getting taxpayers to agree to be taxed more. The truth is that there are plenty of non-essential jobs and services that can be cut across the country. The governments are just resisting doing it.

But cutting staff and services is the only solution that makes any sense. Our government agencies have gotten out of control and have been on spending sprees for decades. But the role of our government is not to be an employer or to spend taxpayer money. The government goal is supposed to be to oversee things so we have an orderly and law-abiding society, and to provide certain key services that the private sector cannot or should not provide.

The only thing that makes sense is to start making drastic cuts in non-essential staff and programs run by the governments. Taxpayers are having to carefully budget, so why shouldn't the government have to do the same? We're all being hit by budget pinches and higher taxes to prop up ridiculous government budgets will hurt taxpayers and their families even more. Let's tell our government leaders that it's time for them to live within their means, just like taxpayers are doing. Let the cutting of budgets begin.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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