Being fiscally conservative, I understand the importance of state government living within its means. In economically trying times, we citizens must budget our households so as to be careful not to spend more than our income.
We are forced to prioritize our expenditures so as to keep the essentials and eliminate the luxuries. That is not too much to ask of our government.
However, funding programs such as the infant-death reduction initiative must be deemed an essential part of state government and not optional. This initiative reduces infant mortality by helping to prevent premature births and low birth weights.
It also provides postnatal care including nutrition counseling and regular physician visits.
Unfortunately, this program is likely to be cut from the state budget this year. A recent vote in the state legislature will eliminate the program and thereby eliminate the federal government matching funds too.
If balancing the budget requires the reduction of some other non-essential program, then so be it. If dipping into a rainy day fund is necessary, then do it. I cannot imagine a more “rainy day” than a parent burying their infant child.
The children in Tennessee are our most precious resource and our future. Who knows, one of the babies that are saved could discover the cure to a deadly disease, be a military hero or perhaps just be an average citizen.
Either way, our lawmakers must find a way to keep programs that protect and benefit our Tennessee children.
(Aubrey Givens is a candidate for State Senate District 17. He may be reached at Givensin2010@hotmail.com)