Monday, February 8, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Well, Delaware has one massive snow storm down, and another to go. Weather forecasters are predicting that we will be hit again on Tuesday night. This blog is mainly about politics and policy, and so yes, there is a political angle to this snow talk.

First, the Joint Finance Committee is trying to be conscientious in working on the budget, but the weather cancelled today's hearings, and the outlook for the rest of the week is dubious given the forecast.

Second, the Delaware Department of Education is already tight on scheduling meetings and activities around the various federal reform agendas, and the weather eats up limited days.

Third, these storms stress the state budget. For example, when the Delaware Department of Transportation deals with an eight inch snow it might cost as much as $4 million.

Finally, there's nothing like a major blizzard to make people rethink the value of public services. Public servants worked diligently to keep roads clear, but ultimately fought a losing battle against snowfall amounts that ranged from 20-30 inches. As stated before, snow removal is expensive, but how much more expensive is it to have commerce shut down in most of the state for a couple of days? If we currently spend $4 million on 8 inches of snow, what if we spent $8 million and did it twice as quickly? Those are the questions that need to be asked, instead of assuming that shrinking government is always the best choice. We live in a complex society that takes a sophisticated and comprehensive public infrastructure to keep it all functioning. It is truly possible to be "penny wise and pound foolish", to use the old British saying.

1 comment:

  1. meetings about various federal reform agendas: couldn't be a scarier sentence......