What does “smaller government” mean?
Richard Leopold, outgoing director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), has a few answers in an article in today’s Des Moines Register.
State general fund allocations to DNR have dropped over the past several years, from $22.1 million in FY09 to $15.6 million in FY11.
As a result of decreased general fund support, DNR has been forced to drop a number of programs and services. Leopold said:
I have gotten I don’t know how many complaints from legislators and small business owners about, “You used to do this and now you don’t any more.” Well, it is like, you want smaller government, this is what it looks like.
In a difficult economy, Leopold sees increased use of state parks. So more people are using the bathrooms, filling the trash cans and wanting to hike in the outdoors, and DNR has less money for staff to mow the grass, clean the bathrooms, empty the trash cans and keep the trails open.
Cuts in revenues lead to cuts in services that we all use. Often, they are the services that we’re so accustomed to receiving, we don’t notice them until they are gone.
Posted by Andrew Cannon, Research Associate