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Your Views: Governments need to get by with less during hard times
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Jack Waldrip is "spot on" in his assertion that a tax hike at this time is unacceptable ("Your Views: Our best option in tough times is to merge government services"). As a native of this fair city, I remember when my mom made $28 per week and my dad drove a bread truck. We never had a vacation. My mom and dad had no retirement and we never received one dime of government aid.

Of course, life was more simple then and things sure did cost a lot less. I was fortunate to work my way through UGA and start a business here in Gainesville. Since 1977, my biggest partner in my business has been the government!

I have collected millions of dollars in sales tax (some years approaching $500,000) and have paid tens of thousands in other taxes including property tax and inventory tax. It would seem that I am a rich man; but I, like other good businessmen, am far from rich.

Waldrip is a smart business man. He has worked many 80-hour weeks just as I have risking everything as we go. We can not just raise prices because we might need to fund a bigger pension or add another advisor or even an inspector who calls because the grass is too tall or someone sprayed-paint on a house foundation.

And may I say, I have no qualms with our great law enforcement officers. They are my heros and have watched out for my business for 32 years. But there is way too much "fat" in our government. And most of them know who they are.

I have not talked to Jack Waldrip about this subject; but I know that Jack, myself and just about every privately owned business in this area has had to make substantial cuts in what I call a "depression."

As a lifelong resident, I ask you to ask Waldrip to head a citizens' task force to look in to government efficiency and possible cuts. For starters, one week's paid vacation till further notice would be good. If people want more time off, that time would be without pay.

A 5 percent pay cut (other than public safety) should also be considered and consolidation in every department should be totally looked at, for starters.

I'm sure this comment has stepped on several toes and for that I am sorry; but, truth be known, most of us could make it on a little less for a little while. Remembering what my dad reminded me of stating time after time, "Son, tough times never last, tough people do."

I have no desire to get involved in politics or serve on any board. But Gainesville and Hall County have always been great in my eyes, and I know when this bickering between governments stops and the right "business" decisions are made, this area will be even better than ever.

Phil Forrester

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