As with most government agencies, the Pierce County Council is struggling with budget shortfalls. This one is to the tune of $5.5 million. They will be voting on the new budget tomorrow. Instead of searching for places to cut waste and excess, Councilman Roger Bush, has proposed cutting, among other things, $200,000 from the budget of Washington State University(WSU) Pierce County Extension (PCE) Office.
WSU is the university that governs the 4H program in Washington state. In order for any of the 39 counties to have a 4H program, they must have an extension office. The funds currently available to the PCE office amount to $275,000. It doesn't take a financial whiz to realize that lopping $200,000 from that budget will result in the closure of the PCE office. This closure would be effective immediately, and with it the disbandment of the Pierce County 4H program.
To target the budget and support of programs which provide meaningful activities for our youth is both irresponsible and short sighted.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of adults who volunteer numerous hours toward the conduct of these programs. Many of the youth who are approaching voting age have been members of 4H for much of their childhood. As a program dedicated towards teaching life skills, 4H, for some youth, represents the difference between energy that is channeled towards the good, as opposed to mischief. Does this Council want to be remembered as the group who brought about the demise of the program?
Of course all of this was presented with typical government "transparency". The notifications of this proposal were sent out late last Friday night. With a vote set for tomorrow. When doing something unpopular no point in letting the people have a say in the matter.
I'm feeling a bit disenchanted these days.