Whenever states find tax revenues dropping during an economic downtown, governors and lawmakers seem typically to reach for their pens to cross something out of the budget. Often, that is like cutting off a nose in spite.

Since almost everything in the budget of a state the size of Vermont involves essential public services, cuts in education or health care funding, public safety and the courts, transportation or other accounts will be acutely felt by Vermonters as the state’s most fundamental services and programs are diminished.

This also will occur just when the need for some services rises because of the economy, or despite significant funding shortfalls from past years — as with transportation maintenance and repair funding.

As Paul Cillo, president of the Public Assets Institute, a nonprofit group that provides information and analysis about state budgeting, said in a recent column, state lawmakers rarely think of raising taxes in some fair way to cover a revenue shortfall — even when that might be the better course in the long run.

He points out, for instance, that a 2 cent gasoline tax hike that would cover the amount of a proposed cut in transportation funding is a mere blip compared to the wild fluctuations in gas prices over the past several months.

Mr. Cillo also points to the state’s rainy day fund, which he believes now contains about $87 million — more than double the projected $32 million budget deficit lawmakers and the governor are trying to address. He asks why that option is not taken.

The Douglas administration is expected to present a spending reduction plan on Friday to the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committee. If any Vermonter is less than satisfied with the ideas being floated by the administration and lawmakers, now is the time to let your senators, representatives and the governor know what you think.

Forcing them to be more creative, even bold, would be a good thing.