Gov. Matt Blunt is finding that cutting state spending isn't as easy as some would have thought. That most certainly doesn't mean Blunt is on the wrong path. Quite the opposite. Though most believe cutting state government spending is a necessary decision, the actual process is a virtual obstacle course.
Blunt proposed cutting First Steps, a state and federally funded program for youngsters will physical limitations. But opposition soon was formed and the vocal supporters of the program are apparently getting their way. A legislative committee has now recommended a scaled-down version of the program and it appears likely that First Steps will survive.
Blunt also proposed closing Bellefontaine Habilitation Center in St. Louis. The facility is both costly and plagued with staff issues and abuse reports. But a new report Tuesday seems to indicate that because of a loss of matching federal funds, it may actually cost the state money to close the facility. The status of that proposed cut is in question now.
Blunt and those who want to reduce state spending are on the right course. We need to cut spending and not place even more burden on taxpayers. But it's much easier to start a program than to stop one. That's the current lesson in Jefferson City.
I know little of the two proposals that Blunt wants cut. But I believe, as do many others, that if we look long enough and deep enough, we'll find ways to reduce government spending. That may well mean the end to some pet projects that are highly protected by the bureaucrats. But just because the fight will be difficult doesn't mean you shouldn't wage the battle.
Matt Blunt should be commended for asking the tough questions and facing the right decisions. Given time and cooperation, he and his staff will find ways to save taxpayer money. In the long run, Blunt's position is correct.