Laboratory of Budget Cutting

Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder’s budget proposal, cutting or eliminating funding to a number of identified economic development, cultural, and historic organizations, offers this blog debating society a little laboratory in which to test our beliefs about government.

Richmond is the capital city, so everyone in the Old Dominion has something of a stake in the city’s budget. The city has a major newspaper that we expect will cover developments thoroughly. There are city blogs like River City Rapids that will provide additional insight, as it has already. The manageable number of organizations that have been cut represent a good cross-section of the types of things government funds. Several of the organizations facing cuts are high-powered, with friends in high places, so they will have the wherewithal to make their case in the media as well as in the proverbial backrooms.

How much of Wilder’s cutting will those who fulminate against government spending in the abstract accept? How will those who generally favor more spending and more government justify these programs? I think it will be interesting and I invite my colleagues and all our readers to follow developments and test our commitments on this real world example.

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  1. The real question is: How many of Wilder’s budget cuts are simply payback directed towards people who didn’t support the at-large mayor referendum?

    An extension of that question: If we tracked all of Wilder’s actions over the last 10 years, from his public statements to where he eats and gets his hair cut, would any of them reflect anything more than cold political calculus, grudges, and political payback?

  2. Death to the downtown white elephants! Up with the grassroots and neighborhoods!

    As a citizen of the city, I am VERY happy that Wilder is bringing accountability to “nondepartmental” corporate welfare scammers like Richmond Renaissance and the VPAF.

    Its about time the government listen and serve citizens instead of corporations, nonprofit and otherwise.

  3. Ok, so I’ll admit, my comments don’t add anything to this policy debate. So let the record show: I don’t like Wilder.

    But that aside, does anyone have any details on the new city budget?

  4. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Paul, I have to admit that with Mayor Wilder, the “get even” question has to be asked on every decision. That’s a mighty big chink in some of his otherwise commendable armor.

    I suspect a look at River City Rapids will yield links to budget details. “Snoopy” is all over it. I’m looking for the responses from big players like the Richmond Partnership, out $490,000 plus the corporate match they claim to get.

  5. Well it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with. Richmond is a place that’s near and dear to my heart, since I spent the first 18 years of my life there…

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