Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Republican Solutions In The Real World

It's one thing for Republicans to win numerous special elections over the past few's another to actually achieve results after winning those elections. So, how are they doing?

Pretty well, actually.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

If you are sick of the fecklessness and fiscal responsibility fakers in Washington, here is something to lift your spirits.

Read ... NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s austerity speech and action plan outlined at a meeting of the Garden State’s League of Municipalities here. I’ve been longing for a public official with the courage and audacity to say “suck it up”, take responsibility, stand up to the unions and the permanent Nanny State, and make the tough choices that other politicians keep pretending they don’t have to make or keep kicking down the road.

Chris Christie is the real deal. Partial transcript thanks to Mish. Read the whole thing:

In the time we got here, of the approximately $29 billion budget there was only $14 billion left. Of the $14 billion, $8 billion could not be touched because of contracts with public worker unions, because of bond covenants, because of commitments we made accepting stimulus money. So we had to find a way to save $2.3 billion in a $6 billion pool of money.

When I went into the treasurer’s off in the first two weeks of my term, there was no happy meetings. They presented me with 378 possible freezes and lapses to be able to balance the budget. I accepted 375 of them.

There is a great deal of discussion about me doing that by executive action. Every day that went by was a day where money was going out the door such that the $6 billion pool was getting less and less. So something needed to be done.

People did not send me here to talk, the people sent me here to do. So we took the executive action we did to stop the bleeding.

As we move forward, and we evaluate what we need to do three weeks from now in our fiscal year 2011 budget address, you all need to understand the context from which we operate.

Our citizens are already the most overtaxed in America. US mayors hear it all the time. You know that the public appetite for ever increasing taxes has reached an end.

So when we freeze $475 million in school aid, I am hearing the reverberations from school boards saying now you are just going to force us to raise taxes.

Well there is a 4% cap in place as you all know, yet school boards continue to give out raises which exceed that cap, just on salary. Not to mention the fact that most of them get no contribution towards the spiraling increase in health care benefits.

Now, we are going to reduce spending at the state level. And we are going to continue to reduce it because we have no choice but to do so. Our obligation to you is twofold. One, is to let you know that. So I’m’ letting you know that.

Second to work with the legislature to give you the tools helping you to reduce spending at the municipal level. Now the pension and benefit reform package that was passed unanimously in the senate this week begins to give you some of those tools.

But it is only a beginning.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

This is great news, both in practice and symbolically. The new governor of Virginia aimed to save $40,000 from his transition budget, but managed to save the taxpayers $80,000 through a system of scrimping that taxpayers will no doubt appreciate during these tough times:

The grungy office space, used supplies and limited freshening of the official gubernatorial quarters paid off...

That $80,000 -- enough to cover the average salary of two entry-level teachers -- will revert to the general fund if not used by June 30. That's the same general fund that lawmakers are trying to plug through $4 billion in cuts.

"We tried to be creative, cut out what we didn't need, and looked for new ways of doing things and covering costs," McDonnell said. "It added up to some saved dollars, and I appreciate what our team was able to do."

McDonnell has also cut salaries in his Cabinet, and taken a pay cut, himself. Both his Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli saved a nice chunk of their transition budgets as well.

This is how to create a winning environment for the GOP - not only do the American people reject what the Dems are peddling, but the GOP has alternative plans that are working. Republicans can't be just the 'party of no', but rather must have a robust platform of real solutions that will work in the real world. Just think what could happen if Governors, state legislators, and Congress were all successfully transitioned into Republican seats with real solutions that work in the real world.

Add to that some other Republicans who are not new but are still succeeding at generating real economic recovery, like Mitch Daniels and Nebraska state Treasurer Shane Osborn, and we could actually experience a real recovery.

Fancy that!

There's my two cents.

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