For people in the news industry, national elections are like the Super Bowl and the Olympics all rolled into one.
By and large we are political junkies. We absorb all of the happenings in the community, across the state and across the nation. A lot of times we get way too absorbed in the minutiae to even be able to communicate with normal, non-journo folks.
But this year it is hard to imagine being too deeply tied to the decisions that we as voters will be making on Tuesday.
Yes, there’s that presidential election, determining the fate of the free world and all that. But there are things closer to home that citizens need to focus on. In this election, focusing on the trees to the exclusion of the forest might be a good trait to have.
Despite the national furor, we have some issues to fix at home no matter who is in the Oval Office. Constitutional amendments may be a bore to most voters, but whether or not the state allows abortion or has to use more stringent standards in setting its annual budget are decisions that each person in our state will have to live with in very personal ways as we move forward.
The estimates used in determining the state budget can mean the difference between overspending and seeing deficits grow or having services curtailed because projections didn’t allow for full funding of some programs.
It’s easy to say that there should be some mediation, some gray areas that could allow for more accurate numbers, but then that would require moderation and conciliation from both sides of the political aisle. In the current highly polarized environment, that is not likely to happen. Any potential changes to the method that is chosen, whether more conservative or more liberal, will be hotly contested. So it is up to the voters to get it right.
The same goes for industrial tax exemptions. Who should decide how taxes are levied, and when they should be paid? Is it up to the local government to cut its own deal, or should there be a more holistic approach, looking at the tax burden a new manufacturer will face at each level? Will allowing more flexibility allow for more corruption to enter the system as deals are cut at multiple levels for new industry?
Those are some of the questions we all, as citizens of our state, face in this election. Sure, they aren’t as sexy as arguing over MAGA vs. GND. They don’t have the cachet of a Trump rally or a Lincoln Project ad. But they are important. And the decisions made this week will be with us for a long time.
Yes, voting is important. Making it to the polls is essential. And early turnout is proving that we, as a state, are doing that. Just make sure when you push those buttons in the booth you fully understand how much power you have in that fingertip.
So not only do you need to make sure you choose. You need to make sure you choose wisely.