It's not your penny
A penny saved is a penny earned - isn't that how the saying goes? Or at least it used to. These days, I think it is more accurate to say, "A penny earned is still a penny that doesn't belong to you."
With all the budget bru-ha-ha, it probably sounds like I'm about to go on a budget rant, and I could, but as I was reading The Daily Graphic website, I noticed that the government is not the only one looking for money. A quick scan tells me there is a Purina Walk for Guide Dogs, a Cancer Care fundraiser at the PCU Centre, the Glesby Wine Tasting Fundraiser, Salvation Army initiatives and a Mexican night at the Herman Prior 55-Plus Centre to raise funds for the Portage Potato Festival. On top of that, the United Way has just celebrated raising approximately $200,000. Whew! That's a lot of places to spend that hard-earned penny.
Those are all the extras. Then there's the day-to-day, less feel-good, but still important options: the RM of Portage la Prairie announces a slight tax increase, rates for water-line connections see increase, province to increase daycare fees in 2012-2013 and city gives first reading to financial plan and tax levy. All of this is without the provincial or federal budgets.
It is near impossible to strike a balance between the ever-increasing costs and the worthy organizations looking for support. The situation presents itself as a lose-lose. Donating money to the Glesby Centre, for example, might be a priority for you, but is that donation going to take a hit when it costs you more to fill up your gas tank come May 1? If it is not going to take a hit, then what is? It's not only governments that are having to cut budgets; us regular folk are having to do it, too - in equal or larger measure.
My hope is that the worthy organizations appealing for donations do not take a big hit - perhaps people will volunteer time instead of cash, or maybe people will find other places in their budget to relieve the pressure.
My fear is that no matter how much cutting us average joes do, the hit is going to be felt by those who need the money the most.
Tara Seel is a contributing columnist to The Daily Graphic.