The fundamental role of government

By state Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg)

The current economic situation has energized a renewed focus on the fundamental role of government in the daily lives of its citizens. Government should be able to demonstrate to taxpayers that their tax dollars are justified and that they are spent wisely and effectively.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle appointed me to chair the Senate’s Best Value Government Task Force. This task force is charged with making recommendations that will bring efficiencies to our state government. Those efficiencies will be gained by eliminating non-essential activities coupled with establishing the most cost-effective method to deliver essential activities.

We now are looking at every activity of every agency. The questions I am asking these agencies are:

• Is this activity a fundamental purpose of government?

• Why should taxpayers give their hard-earned dollars for this activity?

• What is the adequate funding amount for this activity and how do you determine that amount?

• What are your expected outcomes?

• How do you know if you are successful or not?

• How do you measure your progress?

• How will you know you have successfully completed this activity?

Asking these questions will allow the Best Value Government Task Force to build budget recommendations of essential government activities at an efficient cost level.

Instead of looking just for cuts, I believe we have the opportunity to better define what the basic, fundamental purposes of government should be along with the most efficient cost to do them.

Government agencies are not entitled to taxpayer dollars; governments instead are created by the governed and should be accountable and transparent.

Just as families have to face tough decisions regarding their budgets, state lawmakers should be willing to ask tough questions regarding our Georgia budget.

If we were able to construct a budget of basic fundamental purposes at efficient costs, we might just discover our state’s budget would be significantly lower than what it is now.

If so, that would provide an opportunity for our state to return dollars back to taxpayers – even in these challenging times.

Now, isn’t that an economic stimulus plan we can believe in?

As our task force goes through agency budgets, I am sure there will be plenty of claims of gloom and doom that will be circulated by some organizations.

When you receive this info from one of their contacts, ask them the same questions I am asking. See what answers you get. If you’re satisfied, then contact your legislator with your comments.

But, if they can not answer those questions, if they can not adequately justify to you, the taxpayer, why they are spending your money, then tell them to stop wasting your tax dollars.

A government agency should be as accountable to you as any person you elect. Together we can hold government accountable and restructure the way government does business.

[Sen. Mitch Seabaugh serves as Senate majority whip. He represents the 28th Senate District, which includes Coweta and Heard counties and portions of Carroll and Troup counties. He may be reached by phone at 404-656-6446 or by email at]

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