Monday, June 08, 2009

Next up: Alabama

California was the first canary - now insolvency spreads. As we discussed before, it is the city, state, and local communities that will bear the brunt of this depression. Real Unemployment is now at or near 20%. That means 1/5 of all able-bodied adults are involuntarily out of work. There are now dozens of applicants for every single job opening - no jobs at all exist to employ all these displaced workers. City infrastructure and service needs, however, have not dropped along with the sharp reduction in tax income. Many cities and counties are already far in debt (bonds) due to past year's deficit spending on roads and maintenance, parks and development. Now that credit is no longer available, and tax revenue is falling through the floor, there is simply no money available. This is the result.
Alabama County Set to Halt Services, Shut Buildings Over Budget
June 8, 2009
By William Selway

June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Alabama’s most populous county is preparing to stop road maintenance, close courthouses and shutter services for the elderly after a court struck down taxes that pay for about 35 percent of its budget...

...The loss of the tax money was another blow to a county that has been struggling to avoid bankruptcy since last year, when Wall Street’s financial crisis caused its interest bills to soar on more than $3 billion of bonds...

...The proposed cuts, released today by county Commission President Bettye Fine Collins, would slash deeply into the government’s services and also include closing a nursing home for the indigent, declaring a moratorium on enforcing zoning and littering laws, and scrapping local development contracts.

These are the kinds of things that are going to happen all over the nation. Our communities are going to need to be prepared to deal with the reductions in government services. Individual neighborhoods and districts are going to have to develop their own way of dealing with the loss of services and maintenance, ways that do not cost money for the obvious reason that no one has any.

Now is the time for neighborhood and community leaders to ponder how to deal with these issues, because there may be little in the way of warning when your municipality cuts back or announces the end of various programs.


BrooklynWolf said...

Completely off topic, but when I saw the title, the first thing that popped into my head was the Tom Lehrer song "Who's Next?" :)

The Wolf

Ahavah Gayle said...

That's ok, we all get stuff popping in our heads every now and then.

I do wish the Jewish communities were taking this problem seriously, though, instead of pretending they will be or should be getting MORE government largesse.