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Leader Editorial: Voters should share the pain of cuts

May 31, 2013

The first blow to Burbank's low-income seniors came in early April, when voters rejected a measure that would have kept in place funding that allowed the city to subsidize trash-hauling and sewer bills for this vulnerable segment of the population.

Now another threat looms for those 62 and older who are in need of financial assistance. The City Council on Tuesday will consider whether it should eliminate a program that allows those seniors to ride the Metro bus for a $7 monthly fee. This is a long-standing subsidy that could end as soon as July 1 unless the council finds a more compassionate way to save money.

Rather than put the burden of cuts on the on the backs of the approximately 300 seniors who have come to rely on the heavy bus pass discount to travel to doctor's appointments and to take care of other personal errands, how about making cuts to programs that impact all city residents, including the well-heeled? The voters who chose to cut funding for other subsidies should perhaps share the pain by seeing a curb to services such as, say, street-sweeping.

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Sometimes the government's job is to protect the people who need it most. We hope the City Council will find a way to maintain this bus program as it is, instead of effectively doubling the cost of a monthly pass for these low-income seniors. Seven dollars may not seem like much money to the majority of Burbank residents, but it all these little hits to subsidies have a way of adding up to create a distressing impact on those who are just scraping by.

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