Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Silver Lined Economic Clouds

Right now, at the state level, serious debates are occurring over funding for everything from entrepreneurial initiatives to arts programs to museums to public television. Almost daily, I get an email imploring me to contact my state representative and fight for money to save all of these valuable state donations.

Back in March, I read in the Post-Gazette that the Fort Pitt Museum was on the chopping block. They reported that the state spends $500,000 per year to run the museum. This month, many organizations have stepped up to say they can run the museum for half as much state funding, thus saving tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Why wasn't this done years ago? That's a serious question for which I would like someone to be accountable. But clearly, it took an economic crisis for us to rethink how our taxpayer money is spent. Maybe we need one of these crises every few years because our legislators can't be bothered to keep themselves in check.

I hope over the next month, as the state budget process unfolds, we find more of these public-private partnerships to save the state money and run our facilities more efficiently. (I'm sure someone can come up with an idea for the state liquor stores.) Making decisions which will save us money now and in the future will only help the city and state. It's just a shame that it takes a downturn for us to make some smart decisions.

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