Weekly Radio Address: Sen. Goodall-When Ideology Wins, We All Lose
Good Morning. This is State Senator Seth Goodall of Richmond.
This week Governor LePage unveiled his plan to decimate common-sense, cost-effective safeguards that protect the health and safety of more than 65,000 people across our state.
The Governor’s plan to cut $221 million from health and human services is being disguised as a “cost savings measure” but it lacks factual justification. Instead, it is an ideological action item to cripple government—at all costs, even if it hurts our families, neighbors, and the elderly—and apparently, even the economy.
First, the Governor’s plan to cut common-sense safeguards will not reduce or eliminate the need. In fact, these cuts will end up costing all of us more. Under the Governor’s plan, people will either go untreated or health care costs will rise because people will seek out costly emergency room care, resulting in increased health insurance costs to businesses and individuals. This is something our fragile economy cannot afford. Every cut has a consequence and shifting health care costs, as proposed by the Governor, is irresponsible and short-sighted, especially now at a time of greatest need.
Secondly, we must understand the economic job consequences of the proposal. The old adage “measure twice before you cut” applies here. The Governor’s proposal does more than just cut programs, his plan results in job losses numbering in the thousands across the health care industry and related fields. And, putting even more people out of work will only further contribute to a downward economic spiral for our state. So while this might be penny wise in the Governor’s mind, it’s pound foolish for our economy, especially right now.
The focus of this administration and the legislature must be job creation, not policies that we clearly know will directly lead to further job losses in the public, non-profit and for-profit sectors. With more than 50,000 people out of work–and that number does not include the thousands of people who are under-employed or who are not earning a livable wage– we must do everything we can to be job creators, not job destroyers.
Whether or not you agree that government structurally should be smaller, larger, or remain the same, we all agree that government should be more efficiently run and secure so that it can work for the very people it is intended to serve—which is all of us.
But making cuts to advance a political agenda to the detriment of our economy, job creation, and people’s health is counterproductive. And, when ideology wins, we all lose. Instead, we must be true with the facts, honest with our intentions, and work together to solve problems.
In January, the legislature reconvenes. There’s no doubt that hard decisions will need to be made. And whether we’re looking at health and human services or any other program, if there are efficiencies to be found, let’s find them. But we cannot take a meat ax approach merely for ideological gain. We must remember why we were sent to Augusta: People want to get back to work and it is job number one to help them get there. And so we must ask ourselves, as decisions makers, “are we going to be ‘job creators’ or ‘job destroyers’?”
This is State Senator Seth Goodall. Thank you for listening and have a great weekend.