Wherein I Ask You for a Favor

March 6th, 2012 at 8:06 pm

A lot of us have been writing about the impact of state and local budget cuts from a macro perspective, focusing on the hundreds of thousands of public-sector jobs lost and slower GDP growth as a result.  (Below, see a useful graph summarizing these developments.)

But what’s missing here is a more granular picture of how these cuts are playing out on the ground.  So, if you see something, say something.  IE, have you seen any evidence of these cuts in your state, city, or town?  Larger classroom sizes, more waiting time for services, fewer library hours?  Or, if you haven’t seen anything, that’s important too.

Obviously, not exactly a scientific study here, but I’m interested in what, if anything, folks are seeing.

Update: Wow–I’m getting great stuff from the OTE universe!  Keep it coming and we will compile, reflect, and write up.  Apparently, as one commenter mentioned, IAYA should be a new posting category (I Ask, You Answer).

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35 comments in reply to "Wherein I Ask You for a Favor"

  1. D. C. Sessions says:

    It might seem trivial, but there you are:

    Serious changes in road surface quality in both Arizona and New Mexico. Mountain country with 65mph posted speeds and some pretty wild weather, over the past 5 years many roads (e.g. US 60) have gone from reasonable surfaces to suspension tests. Including large potholes — not a good safety feature.

    Arizona: all highway rest stops closed. This is not trivial in a State where it can be a two-hour drive between towns and road shoulders aren’t a safe place to pull over when you get tired.

    Arizona: quality of 911 dispatch has taken a hit. Ambulances are being routed from over an hour away to life-critical injuries (e.g. lacerated spleen) instead of closer, then (at least sometimes) redirected to less critical injuries along the way. And, yes, I nearly lost a patient that way this winter.

  2. Ray Collins says:

    Austin Public Library hours cut, interlibrary loan services greatly reduced, more traffic warnings and fewer traffic citations written because there is no overtime for officers in court, formerly city-sponsored events such as the Trail of (Christmas) Lights now privately sponsored, toll roads increasing, Capital Metro mass transit getting worse, particularly bus service and any service south of the Colorado River, auto-pedestrian accidents rising, hit-and-runs rising, Austin Police Department has pretty much given up on burglaries for some years now, no raise for teachers in Austin Independent School District for two years, AISD property taxes driving families out of my neighborhood and others, resulting in very unpopular neighborhood school closures, many uninsured working poor mothers and children seen at free clinics such as El Buen Samaritano, cuts to women’s health programs because they are deemed “affiliated” with abortion providers, even though they don’t provide abortions themselves (including El Buen Samaritano), bicycle and pedestrian programs underfunded, etc., etc.

  3. Joe Marinaro says:

    Not much here. Roads in our town were mediocre before the recession and have continued to be mediocre. The school district, to which we pay extremely high taxes is still marginal for this area.

    Seems like people in charge are in denial about the needs to cut. This town brags about not raising taxes but at the same time they are not finding ways to do things more efficiently. Instead the notion seems to be do as little as possible without cutting costs.

    In the business world, your department gets a cut in budget money you are not excused from doing the job you are tasked with. You have to find a way to be more efficient. In the public sector that just simply does not appear to be an option. Instead, you get the less money means less services (or certainly not improved services). That idea needs to change. Government has to figure out, the way businesses have, how to do more, with less.

  4. eRobin says:

    There are stories like this from all over PA. I’ll leave one more in another comment. ARRA money kept education afloat in PA for two years then it disappeared and the boom fell on public and higher ed. State revenue dropped with the recession and PA lawmakers refuse to replace it with some real easy choices: taxing shale drillers and closing the DE loophole being the most obvious and inexcusable to refuse. But we are ruled by fools in PA.


    Pennsbury CEO Paul Long details potential impact state budget cuts would have on the school district

    Published: Monday, March 14, 2011

    By Petra Chesner Schlatter

    PENNSBURY SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposed cuts to public education in Pennsylvania, which still have to go through the state legislative process, are expected to really hit hard in Pennsbury School District.

    Cut-backs in expenditures coming from the state would mean reductions in revenue to school districts.

    Dr. Paul Long, CEO of Pennsbury School District, gave a frank briefing at the Pennsbury School Board meeting Thursday, March 10. Long said that Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed reducing state expenditures across the board for public schools as well as higher education.

    He said a team of Pennsbury administrators has been getting information from the state’s Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials to “try to scrape together the data. It’s not like they send us the report…”

    Long advised that Corbett’s budget, which seeks to cut $ 1 billion overall, still has to go through the general assembly and be signed into law.

    “That is going to take into the winter, the spring and probably into the summer before that’s going to happen,” he said.

    Long told the board that the administration is by no means certain of the comprehensive picture at this point.

    “Some of the things the governor has suggested,” Long said, “are going to be challenged perhaps legally — perhaps politically. There’s going to be some hard debate about this I think.

    “We will be watching this carefully and staying tuned to what’s happening here,” he continued. ”That’s exactly what we’re doing as we work with the budget process between now and spring.”

    The state funds 19 percent of Pennsbury’s budget, but Long emphasized, “The lion’s share of the budget comes from local property taxes.”

    Long showed a chart, indicating that the “Potential Revenue Loss” because of state cuts could total about $3.7 million.

    “These are the ones we know about so far,” he said. “There may be more to come.

    For basic education, the school district could lose $1.39 million. The loss for block grants could be $876,385. State funding for charter school tuition reimbursement could be cut by $750,000.

    Social Security reimbursement could be cut by $689,705.

    He explained that the basic education subsidy is the money the state sends to Pennsbury to support basic education. That does not include, for example, transportation or construction subsidies.

    Long noted that what the state could give Pennsbury would be about equal to what was subsidized in 2006.

    Another “big hit” would be in the accountability block grants. Pennsbury has been making a grant application every year and reported how the money was used. Long said the funds were to encourage school districts to use programs that the state wanted in place.

    “We were able to utilize a block grant primarily by holding down the size of primary grade classes, Kindergarten, first and second grades,” he said.

    “In the governor’s budget, the accountability block grant goes completely away for us and everyone else in the Commonwealth,”

    Long said, noting for Pennsbury, there is an impact of nearly $1 million.

    Regarding cutting funding completely for charter school reimbursement, Pennsbury has students attending several charter schools in the area – Buck Montessori, Center for Student Learning as well as others in lower Bucks County and cyber schools.

    Until now, the state had been subsidizing the charter school tuition payments that Pennsbury had to pay.

    “It was about 30 percent of the charter school tuition,” Long said. “But that line in the governor’s proposal was completely eliminated. So we’re saying goodbye to [$775,000] and so will everyone else in the state.”

    Regarding Social Security, the state has paid one half of the employer’s share in Pennsbury for decades. The school board has been paying the other half.

  5. eRobin says:

    One of these teachers was invited to the most recent SOTU sending the message that when you are a teacher, it is noble to work for free. When you are a Wall St. bankster, you must receive a bonus (2011 average of $121,000) at all costs to retain your “talent”.

    Chester Upland teachers say they will keep working after district funds run out Jan. 11
    January 05, 2012 | By Dan Hardy, Inquirer Staff Writer

    The Chester Upland School District, running out of money, will not be able to pay its staff after Wednesday,
    but teachers and support staff there say they will keep working without pay.
    At a union meeting at Chester High School on Tuesday night, the employees passed a resolution saying
    they would stay on “as long as we are individually able.”

    Columbus Elementary School math and literacy teacher Sara Ferguson, who has taught in Chester Upland
    for 21 years, said after the meeting, “It’s alarming. It’s disturbing. But we are adults; we will make a way.
    The students don’t have any contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job.”
    The unions asked the Corbett administration to provide financial aid for the district. A similar request by
    the school board was turned down last month.

    “We’re asking that elected officials in Harrisburg take responsibility,” said Wythe Keever, a spokesman for
    the Pennsylvania State Education Association who attended the Chester gathering.

    In a Dec. 22 letter to the Chester Upland school board, state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said the
    board had failed to properly manage its finances and would not get any additional funds.

    Chester Upland is expected to fall about $19 million short this school year – almost 20 percent of its $96
    million budget. The district, which depends on state aid for close to 70 percent of its funding, lost millions
    from Harrisburg last year because of statewide budget cuts, many of which came down hardest on poorer

    Also, about 45 percent of its students attend two charter schools in the city. District payments to charter
    schools this year are projected at $43 million – 45 percent of the total budget.

    Payments to the charters are being taken out of the state’s budget allocations for Chester Upland, so they
    will continue even after the district runs out of funds for staff salaries and other obligations.
    Still, the charters have not received all they are due.

    The Chester Community Charter School, the state’s largest, sued the district and the state late last year,
    saying that payments so far have fallen $3.8 million short of what it should have gotten.

    The district shed about 40 percent of its professional staff and about half of its unionized support staff
    before school began last fall. There are now about 200 professionals and 65 school support staff; average
    class size is over 40 in some schools.

    3/6/12 Chester Upland teachers say they will keep working after district funds run out
    Jan. 11 – Philly.com
    articles.philly.com/2012-01-05/…/30593433_1_support-staff-charter-schools-assistant-superintendent 2/2
    Two administrators, the former acting superintendent and former acting assistant superintendent, were
    laid off in late December; their salaries had totaled $360,000 a year.

    Chester Upland has already withheld pay hikes totaling about $800,000 from its teachers, in violation of
    the contract with them.

    The district has no superintendent; it is led by acting assistant superintendent Thomas Persing, a former
    Montgomery County superintendent who was hired in November, for $800 a day.

  6. Kati Sipp says:

    PA announced the cessation of General Assistance (ie–cash payments of a max of $210 per month) to individuals who are not eligible for TANF in the 2012-2013 budget. This affects about 68,000 individuals in PA.

    In addition, the Governor zeroed out a state program called HEMAP (Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program) that helped homeowners who were facing foreclosure due to a short-term emergency to keep their houses.

  7. Kati Sipp says:

    Here’s a briefing by the (minority) House Dem Appropriations chair, of the impact of the PA governor’s proposed budget: http://www.hacd.net/budget/201213/documents/DPW_HumanServices_Briefing.pdf

  8. Mike the Mad Biologist says:

    In MA, public transit might be hacked to bits, including service within Boston. Library hours are being cut way back, along with special events at the library. Road repair–and the state supplements–is also declining. Public health budgets will be cut 1.5% – 6%, including WIC payments.

  9. piddlesworth says:

    As a grad student at a UC:

    Lab supplies in the labs that I taught had to be cut in half, forcing the sharing of lab supplies and the use of lower-quality lab supplies, causing the experiments to take significantly longer and thus not being able to fit as many into a term.

    Funding for incoming students was cut drastically, resulting in significantly fewer admits to the graduate program.

    Funding for hiring new professor was cut drastically such that, in a department with only fourteen professors, we had three retire in a year and a half and we haven’t been allowed to replace any of them.

    Funding for already-admitted students has also been cut, resulting in some being forced to teach through their entire PhD, taking much longer than they would otherwise to get through their program (I don’t see how this saves money) and one student even dropping out without earning their PhD because they’ve been so weighed down between classes and teaching for the past two years that they haven’t been able to make any significant progress on their research (I really don’t see how this saves money).

    Funding for all of the “extra” stuff a department does has been cut drastically, which isn’t as important, but it does noticeably hurt department morale when there’s no longer really any socializing and fewer opportunities to get support when trying to figure out how to set something up/how to get the right permits for stuff/etc. It turns out that support staff is really important to people who are trained ot just focus on what’s going on in their laboratories every day!

  10. piddlesworth says:

    By the way, you should have titled this “I Ask, You Answer”.

  11. Ed Muir says:

    There’s a lot of survey work in California, see here http://bit.ly/yJQIYr and here http://bit.ly/xFsZcT that show larger classes, less support for after school programs and teacher professional development and — particularlyl in poor communities – shifted costs for extra curricular activities.

  12. Sharon says:

    It’s not as draconian as some of the stories above, at least MD legislators are willing to talk about tax increases, but the city is making side walk repairs in our neighborhood, but instead of replacing the entire length of sidewalk on the street, they’re only replacing the most battered squares of side walk.

    You gotta give DPW a gold star for managing the meager resources!

  13. Katherine says:

    – In Michigan, welfare lifetime limits re: total number of months people are permitted to receive cash assistance were applied retroactively, throwing progressively more and more people off of TANF starting October 2011.

    – When I was on unemployment and had to call the state’s automated line to report job search etc., I frequently had to call multiple times to get past a busy signal. Too many people were trying to access the system, and it kept crashing.

    – Locally, my library is laying off people as a last step before reducing hours. The school system is closing elementary schools and selling off property.

    – If you use state social services (food stamps, unemployment benefits, etc.), and have to contact an agency for any reason, you can spend easily 30-40 minutes on hold, because there are far too few operators to handle call volume.

  14. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Washington state has the 13th largest US pop (around 7,000,000). As a Western state, it has a high property tax and no income tax (due to our political culture holding over from the 1800s).

    The state government is supposed to fund about 70% of all K-12 public ed expenses, most of it derived from property tax — so when we have foreclosures and mortgage problems IMVHO the reverberations are incredible and you can’t spot them ‘in the moment’: you have to look over a few years or more. I will focus solely on my local school district’s impacts.

    My local school district has approx 20,000 students, and there are two major universities (state branch campus and large UofWa main research campus), Microsoft Redmond, Nintendo, the Bellevue WA corridor of telecoms and other high tech businesses, medical devices and services, and Boeing’s main plant within a 40 minute drive of my school district (assuming freeway traffic is not at standstill).

    Education is extremely important in my local area, and most people where I live buy houses for the schools — because people make their living in large part as a result of educational background. Elizabeth Warren’s “Two Income Trap” brilliantly explains the pressures and motives for people to buy in my area, and the pressures many are under financially. Because the businesses require diverse language and knowledge skills, education is a key focus for most families, and they buy homes here (in large part) for the schools. It is ethnically diverse and very ‘multicultural’, with an emphasis on education, education, and education.

    House prices here have been climbing since the 1960s, but they exploded between 1998 – 2007. Property tax is the basis for most education funding, so when housing crashes – or there is rampant fraud that is not prosecuted or punished – the economics of housing translates over a few years into an educational disaster. (This happened in a smaller degree after the S&L crisis of the 80s.)

    Local public school districts aim for a ratio of 1 teacher for each 46 students; mine has fallen to 1:50 and will fall further. This is in an era when the schools are required by federal law to serve **all** students, whether they can speak English, or whether they are immobile in wheelchairs — in other words, the costs of educating many of these kids are rising.
    The budgets, on the other hand, are a nightmare.

    One year ago, (Mar 2011) the Washington state legislature cut $700,000,000 from the state budget. Half of that was cut from K-12. (State Office of Public Instruction has stats: http://www.k12.wa.us/)
    But that came on top of earlier waves of cuts.

    Back in 2007-8, in the glory days, my district lost $600,000 and that is quite a few teacher’s salaries, so back then IIRC, instead of hiring 50 new teachers, they only hired 25. Those are now gone.

    By April 2010, this single school district lost about $12,000,000 in budget cuts from the state. That’s a fair chunk of change for 20,000 students. The district closed 2 elementary schools; if you know anything about the neurology of learning, deficits early in life compound over time. This is like eating your own seed corn.
    You want a low teacher-student ratio, but we’re going backward.

    A year later, another $1.5 – $2 million was lost to budget cuts and people were reeling in shock again in April 2011 when those budget cuts hit. (The state’s B&O fell, property taxes fell.. and the state budget by law has to be balanced.)

    As of last Sept 2011, the school district was looking at more losses — around $2,000,000 shortfall. Why?
    Because it lost students.
    Where are they?!
    Well, they may be sleeping in cars. Many have moved out of the area. Our funding is based on children in attendance; when attendance drops, the state funding vaporizes. There is no way to document and identify how much of the school district budget squeeze is directly linked to foreclosures and mortgage fraud without hiring some good researchers who would then have to compile a database from various sources of information – so we operate blindly, because we don’t pay to collect and analyze this data. (Alarmingly, the data that could prove the neoliberal tax-reduction nonsense is bogus is not collected at my local level, although a clever person with a stipend could do the work. This is like refusing to take the temperature of a medical patient, but I digress…)

    Driving around my local area, there are many ‘For Sale’ signs on empty homes – McMansions that went up like kudzu within the past ten years. Back then, I was marginalized as a NIMBY for being so insolent as to try and inquire about the economic implications of all the Easy Money and No Down Payment mortgages for the McMansions. My local government did not distinguish between a ‘real job’ in the school district (full year contract, medical, dental, retirement) and a ‘job’ framing houses for which the employee did not receive any benefits whatsoever. The local government just thought we had ‘full employment’ so handed out building permits like Halloween candy. We now see the financial consequences, but our kids pay the heaviest part of this cost.

    I’m recently reading Warren’s “The Two Income Trap”. I believe that much of what I’m seeing all around me – what I’m hearing from friends, seeing in local budget cuts, was predicted in that book in 2003. Families wanted their kids to have a good education, and now they’re living in cars. And Wall Street is richer, more tax-haven protected, and ruthless than ever.


    ANECDOTAL: Friends who still have the stamina to work in the schools tell me hair-raising tales about services cuts. Some churches in our area are now designating “allowed overnight parking spots for families” who live in their cars. Why?

    These homeless and living-in-their-cars families get chased around by the cops, who chase off parked cars for vagrancy. The churches are now offering ‘overnight parking’ for certain stalls in their parking lots **to enable safe access to overnight restroom facilities** for families who are thereby able to take Jimmy to the potty at night in a relatively safe place, without being chased off by the cops. (And I’m not writing this to be dismissive of cops — they must have some incredible stories to tell these days!)

    My local school district now **requires** all school principals to take their full ‘personal days’. Why? So many principals were burning out from the burden of what they deal with day in, day out, that the district lost too many principals one year. The new policy: get some R-and-R or you won’t make it through the year, even in a suburban, white-collar district. (!)

    My Evangelical cousins down in Vancouver, WA told me last year about one of their newer church projects: making ‘weekend snack packs’ for children in their local public schools.
    Worth noting: some of their own kids are home schooled, some go to Christian schools, and some go to public schools, so there’s a wide mix of their personal views about public education. But these Evangelicals learned that kids in their local schools had no food to eat on the weekend, so they started fixing ‘weekend snack packs’ — basically, take a lot of microwavable or easy-to-boil foods along with protein bars and protein shake drinks, all pre-prep, and put them in baggies, then deliver to the local elementary for the teachers to ‘sneak into the backpacks’ of their most needy kids so the children will have food over the weekend.
    These Evangelicals may vote differently than I do, but they live their beliefs and they don’t sell garbage on Wall Street. These are not wealthy people, but they believe in the value of community.

    From where I sit and what I see, DC looks like an absolute travesty.
    The failure to see *any* economic or legal justice is so difficult that despite my long list of things to accomplish today, I stopped everything to write this long comment.

    I did not bother going to my Washington caucuses last weekend.
    I simply did not see the point.

  15. Robert says:

    The Akron, Ohio school board is closing 3 elementary schools at the end of the school year. Also 174 job positions are being cut (including 140 teachers and 8 administrators) to save $11.3 million. Another $3.2 million is projected to be cut for supplies, textbooks, technology, and other non-personnel expenses. However, that only covers about two-thirds of the $22 million budget shortfall.
    Source – Akron Beacon Journal- Tuesday, 6 March 2012 edition

  16. Jake Lopata says:

    New York has managed the recession fairly well considering the huge revenue losses incurred from the collapse of Wall Street. There is also the large boost New York received from the ARRA:


    So, I think it is worth noting that when this money runs out (The program ended in August 2011 if I am not mistaken), New York State’s education system will suffer the greatest loss in funding. Education is the area where I hear and see the most government workers being laid off.

    While this is going on, the New York Governor is working on bringing jobs to the State:


    All awhile trying to pass critical reforms:


    But to provide some New York information consistent with the graph above; New York State employment growth was -3.5% from June 2010 to June 2011, the private sector has grown 2.2% in that same time period (data from BLS).

  17. Steve says:

    Since eRobin already chimed in with the state of PA education funding, I won’t go into detail about that. I will provide another piece of anecdata on it though.

    My school district, Cumberland Valley, is redistricting several of the elementary schools to alleviate some overcrowding and to save money. They commissioned a study to determine which option to choose from redistricting the entire district to closing one school to just a partial redistricting of the elementary schools. Closing one of the elementary schools was seriously discussed because of the annual savings that could be realized. The school would not be sold because the demographics dictated it would be needed again in a few years.

    There have been discussions all year about how to save money because of the state level cuts coming down the pipe. Cuts are coming, it’s just a matter of what and when.

  18. Kelpoar says:

    Here in Oregon, class sizes are pushing 40 for high schools. Teachers cannot meaningfully grade that many papers for all their classes. It is depressingly apparent that actually funding education is a very low national priority.

    Also, in Washington there is at least one county that can’t afford to keep plowing all the roads it used to during the winter. Now they plow half way for as long as the money lasts. These are just a few things that came to mind quickly.

    Thanks for asking! Wouldn’t it be interesting if our national “man on the moon” goal was to give our kids the best darn education possible?

  19. MC says:

    On a more personal note, work related. Today my place of employment began to layoff people. Yet our cash-flow/profits are very healthy. A public company many say is “poised” to for a take over because of the great cash flow generation…

    Tomorrow I will go to work and figure out how I will do more with less. I’ve had no less than 4 material benefit cuts in the past year. The promise for working in these large companies is the promise of promotions or opportunity. The number of promotional opportunities are shrinking too. We pay just well enough to keep a few people around for a couple of years and then they see the narrowing of opportunities and the below standard pay and decide to go elsewhere, keeping pressure on middle managers to have high performing teams that they can’t compensate well enough to keep around and can’t offer promotional opportunities to.

    …to focused on keeping my job than to focus on the stuff deteriorating around me.

  20. The Raven says:

    Reader of Tea Leaves has covered on-the-ground details in Washington State. Here’s some high-level ones: the University of Washington has raised its tuition; it has become hard to pay one’s own way there. Out-of-state tuition is now demanded from out-of-state grad students, which is eating the seed corn. Transit has been cut. Health care for the poor.

    What hasn’t been cut? Massive roadway spending projects. Seattle is getting a new and expensive tunnel, which people have voted for but which people don’t seem to actually want. The influx of money into the Border Patrol has even citizen Mexican-Americans scared.

    For a well-rounded view, I recommend the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, which covers the state budget in detail: http://budgetandpolicy.org/.

  21. The Raven says:

    Oh, I didn’t mention that the Seattle Public Library now charges $5 for each inter-library loan request, and is selling borrowing fines to collection agencies. It no longer funds a reciprocal borrowing agreement with the large and better-funded King County Library System, and the KCLS has retaliated by refusing to provide any services to people they know are from Seattle.

  22. The Raven says:

    The Washington State news just keeps rolling it. Here we a sit-in in the offices of the Republican State Senate Leader: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/03/06/protesters-occupy-office-of-republican-budget-coup-leader

    “The budget eliminates the State Food Assistance Program, and cuts millions from programs such as Disability Lifeline (which offers medical and housing support to disabled adults in Washington), k-12 education, higher education, TANF, the Housing and Essential Needs program, and Homeless Assistance to name a few.”

  23. David Benfell says:

    I see a lot of college kids unable to get classes they need to graduate. I hear about Silicon Valley employers whining about college graduates’ communication and critical thinking skills. Meanwhile, I have a Master’s degree in communication. I emphasize critical thinking and I’m qualified to teach undergraduate classes. But there’s no money to hire me.

    Meanwhile, I’m pursuing a Ph.D. But good academic libraries are getting harder to find. They seem to be cutting back drastically.

    • piddlesworth says:

      Oh, yeah, I forgot to talk about that in my post (from a grad student’s perspective), but UC libraries are significantly cutting back their collections to the point where it’s becoming difficult to just do the basics of “research” (i.e. seeing what others have done, not even doing new stuff yourself). Most journal articles are now accessible through digital archives, but almost no books are, and that’s where the real meat and foundations are always published in the physical sciences (making it take far longer to just learn/study, but also far longer to start on a new research direction or even just look at the references provided in journal papers so that you can understand them in context).

      This, again, is just from a grad student’s perspective at a UC, that doesn’t get into all of the ridiculous cuts that mostly hit undergrads (like tuition raises, support program cuts, activity cuts, research opportunity cuts, etc.), or the cuts hitting other schools like community colleges, or other institutions.

  24. BarbD says:

    I just want to thank Mr. Bernstein for opening this up to his readers. I found the comments posted thought-provoking and at times, tragic.

    As many start pounding the war drums again, it’s helpful to pause and consider what we’re dealing with at home (not to mention what we’ve already asked of our over-burdened military and their families over the last decade+).

    I spent 33 years working for a company with a 175 year history of always reinvesting in its business with an eye to long-term health. It feels like the U.S. has stopped investing in itself, and I fear that what readers of this blog have detailed above is just the tip of the iceberg of the consequences to follow.

  25. Michael says:

    The only problem with this thread is that it gets Grover Norquist all moist.

  26. Kenneth D. Franks says:

    My comment was lost somewhere but the point of it was that Texas has cut public education by four billion dollars and won’t use our “Rainy Day Fund” because it is already obligated to the underfunding of Medicaid in the last session. No one in Texas government will admit it but we have a structural deficit and the current Republican “super majority,” in the Texas House won’t do anything about it.

  27. Dan Helphrey says:

    About half of my firm’s work is for public K-12 schools and community colleges. We lucked out early on in the recession, because most of the construction projects we work on were funded by bond funds rather than current budgets, but as those bond funds have been spent, we have experienced the crash in slow motion: very gradual falling off of work and only a few lay-offs at a time but getting close to double digit numbers of these small rounds of lay-offs.

  28. Tony K says:

    I’m a grad student at the University of California. Last quarter, my duties as a TA were the same as what would have been covered by two a few years ago. The students suffered for it through lower-quality grading and longer turn-around times. It was unfortunate, but there are only so many hours in a week.

  29. EdH says:

    I don’t know why this took me so long. Cleveland started a project to replace a major, major bridge through downtown. The plans look terrific. But the money for half the project may have evaporated.


    Here’s a page with the complete rundown.


    The current bridge is beyond its projected lifespan and is similar to the bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed a few years ago. Emergency repair work was done immediately that tragedy when inspections showed significant problems (http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/05/post_461.html).

  30. arieswym says:

    In Philadelphia, library hours have definitely been affected. More than scheduled reductions in hours, its the unscheduled, irregular, temporary closings that are most hardest to work around. The Philadelphia library system has required minimum staffing levels, so when an unscheduled absence occurs, there’s no one else to cover due to previous staff reductions thanks to budget cuts.

  31. EdH says:

    small in dollar terms but the effect will be bigger. The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland is being squeezed both by lower interest rates and federal aid.


  32. Hans Riemer says:

    The ARRA funds were incredibly helpful in Montgomery County, MD, but they have run out. this year it appears the state of MD is going to pass the buck down for pension costs to the local governments, and the state has pretty much frozen or even eliminated aid in numerous categories.

    i have a new perspective on the need for Federal revenue increases. in a region like Washington, there is only so far that one jurisdiction can go without having an impact on its competitive position. Federal revenue increases that flow down to the state and local governments can even the playing field.