Nonprofit Newswire | Fiscal Reform Not Slash and Burn

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March 17, 2010; Chicago Tribune | Late last year as part of NPQ’s Age of Obama series on state budget deficits, we published a piece by Valerie Lies of the Donors Forum in Illinois describing that state’s budget wounds and their impacts on nonprofits. In yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, Lies offered an avenue toward solving the budget crisis.

From our perspective quite correctly, Lies counters Governor Quinn’s proposal for across-the-board budget cuts and specific cuts in human services with the long term answer: “There is only one way for the state to solve its financial problems. It must increase revenues and engage in fiscal reform to address the underlying structural elements . . .”

This prescription applies to every state we can think of. Nonprofits have to help slash-and-burn governors and legislators realize that cuts after cuts simply debilitate government and deprive people of needed resources.

Lies concludes, “Until Illinois pursues new, stable, fair, and diversified sources of revenue, funding for the many services critical to the economies, health and well being of the people of our state will remain inadequate.” She’s right, it’s a question of remaking the revenue side of the equation.

So, how do we do that? What should nonprofits say to legislators and governors in Springfield, Albany, Sacramento, and Harrisburg about the composition of the fix needed on the revenue side of the budget crisis?—Rick Cohen