Crippling needed services only harms the community.

Government budgets and taxes touch everyone in some way.

The annual budget process must strike a balance between spending taxpayer dollars with care and maintaining quality in services ranging from street repairs to law enforcement, and much more.

On Monday, the Finney County Commission proposed a mill levy — the taxing rate applied to assessed values of commercial and residential property — with just a slight increase.

To get there, commissioners made deep cuts to important programs, including law enforcement and social services — to the point that the people of Finney County may have to settle for an unwelcome decline in those services.

Unfortunately, that potential toll seemed to be lost on Commissioner Don Doll, who repeatedly argued that the county should not "grow government" — as if every county-funded agency had demanded significant increases in funding.

They didn't. And while maintaining existing funding and services was the sensible goal, Doll was intent on gutting funding and crippling the ability of law enforcement and other areas already stretched thin to meet basic needs.

Even more offensive was Doll questioning why certain "social programs," as he called them — the likes of mental-health care and assistance for the disabled — receive any county funding at all.

Apparently he doesn't believe government has much of a responsibility to help those most vulnerable.

Such thinking only compounds the pain of an already tragic situation that has many people in need of disability and mental-health assistance — including a growing number of military veterans — waiting in line for help or simply going without.

Charities and churches do their best to reach out to those in need, but cannot shoulder the entire burden.

Reasonable citizens in our community are more compassionate. They know caring for and protecting our neighbors in need may take sacrifice, but is more than worth the additional investment.

Doll should realize as much.

We know budgeting is hard work, and commend the County Commission as a whole for trying to keep the mill levy in check. But to approach the process by refusing to acknowledge legitimate needs, and simply parroting ultra-conservative ideology — as Doll did — does nothing to serve the public good.