GRE Essay Topic 980 - The following appeared in a memo from a budget planner for the City of Grandview. "To avoid a budget deficit next year, the City of Grandview must eliminate its funding for the Grandview Symphony. Our citizens are well aware of the fact that while the Grandview Symphony Orchestra was struggling to succeed, our city government promised annual funding to help support its programs. Last year, however, private contributions to the Symphony increased by 200 percent, and attendance at the Symphony's concerts-in-the-park series doubled. The Symphony has also announced an increase in ticket prices for next year. Such developments indicate that the Symphony can now succeed without funding from city government and we can eliminate that expense from next year's budget. This action will surely prevent a budget deficit. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
City of Grandview
This memo is suggesting that cutting the city’s funding for the Grandview Symphony will prevent a budget deficit. While this decision will decrease the city’s expenses, whether or not it will prevent a budget deficit depends on how much of the city’s expenditure was allotted for the Grandview Symphony in the first place. Simply reducing expenditure does not guarantee the prevention of a deficit.
This memo is focused on justifying cutting city funding for the Grandview Symphony on the grounds that the Symphony can now successfully fund itself and no longer requires financial assistance from the city. The memo illustrates how the Symphony has acquired private funding and is making enough money from ticket sales to support itself. This is all well and good, but what matters when it comes to avoiding a budget deficit is ensuring that the amount of money the city receives is equal to or greater than the money it spends (its receipts must be equal to or greater than its expenditures). In order for the cutting of this particular expense to prevent a budget deficit, the cost of funding the Symphony must be equal to or greater than the difference between the City of Grandview’s receipts and expenditures.
If the City of Grandview is spending a significant amount of money to fund the Grandview Symphony, then cutting this expense might prevent a deficit. However, a city has several expenses that it needs to account for in order to prevent a budget deficit. Most cities spend a large portion of their expenditure on education, fire safety, policing, social services, administrative costs, sanitation, etc. These expenditures are likely to be much higher than what the city spends in support of the Grandview Symphony. It is possible that the City of Grandview will still have a budget deficit even after cutting its funding for the Grandview Symphony if their expenditure on the services listed above is higher than the amount of money coming into the city from taxes, federal support, and so on.
In conclusion, the problem with the reasoning of this argument is that it assumes that the cost of funding the Grandview Symphony is a significant expenditure that eliminating it would prevent a budget deficit. Since the City of Grandview surely has several other costly expenditures that it has to incorporate into its budgetary decisions, eliminating this particular cost might not prevent a budget deficit. However, the elimination of unnecessary costs is an important step when trying to balance a budget and this memo shows that the City of Grandview is taking a step in the right direction.
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