Things are looking up?

I keep hearing that things are improving; no need to be concerned, all this bad economic stuff that keeps happening is “normal for the end of a downturn”… except that today they announced that the Charlotte/Mecklenburg library system – one of the best municipal library systems in the country – is closing half its branches (12 of them) in the next two weeks, the worst hit to the system since the Great Depression, when all the libraries were closed… And my own county is laying off hundreds of workers and scraping all services, including some emergency services, as close to the bone as they can get… And the state as a whole is in a desperate budget shortfall… And. And. And.

How’s things where you are?


5 thoughts on “Things are looking up?

  1. Pom

    Closing down half of the schools in the Kansas City school district. My daughter works at the local library and so far there’s no threat of her branch shutting down, but they are talking about shutting down some of the other small libraries in the area. Interesting that these are the areas they choose to close first – schools and libraries.

  2. Feral Boy

    Similar here … Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources took a big hit, laying off most staff in a lot of parks. School systems here are not in good shape either, state colleges have increased tuition/fees a LOT since I got here 10 years ago, just to keep up. I took a class in 2001, was $45 at community college, same # of hours is over $250 today. First thing the state gets rid of here is anything to do with the public (health care, energy assistance, medicare), and first thing they rush to spend $$$ they don’t have on is tax breaks and ballparks ($250 million on the new “Busch”).

    Oh, and I think it’s another $70 million or more for the U.S. Grant Presidential Libary at Jefferson barracks.

  3. harmonyfb

    Libraries here have dramatically cut hours, but otherwise are doing ok; however, they just fired all the Rangers at the local nature preserve, in spite of dramatic public opposition. Last fall, they closed a bunch of schools, and the high schools had their schedule changed in detrimental ways (Last year, the classes were 90 min long, and alternated days 7 Am to 1:50 pm T-Th/W-F, with Monday having shortened versions of the full roster. This year, every day has shortened versions of all classes, 7 am to 1:50 pm, except for Wednesday, which has all classes shoved into the morning – 7 am to 12 pm). Since my daughter attends an Arts Magnet program, this shortened class time has been very detrimental – vocalists don’t have time to even warm up good before they have to change classrooms, for example.

    Bus service was also cut dramatically, so that the bus which used to pick her up a block and a half from the house now picks up all the students for that high school at a ‘hub’ (a busy, six-road intersection with no sidewalks on five sides of it) which is a half-mile away. At 6 in the morning.

    My husband put out calls for resumes – for two jobs, they’ve gotten about 400 resumes (and 30% of those are from out-of-state!)

    Gas has risen to $2.74-2.79/gal, which puts everyone in a bind (since the public transportation here is next to nonexistent). College tuition is also prohibitively expensive (I looked into a training class at the local, public-run technical college and it was about $5,000 for a six-week course.)

    @Feral Boy – my municipality is also STILL making noises about building a new waterfront stadium for our baseball team (even though public opinion is dead set against it – let ’em pay to build their OWN stadium!)…and the neighboring municipality, despite even worse money troubles, is trying to lure the baseball team to their town with money promises.

    While things might be getting better, I doubt we’ll see any real signs of it for at least another year.

  4. harmonyfb

    After I posted, I left the house and picked up a newspaper – the headline story was enormous proposed cuts to library funding. I’ll be on the phone to legislators’ offices all day tomorrow.:(

  5. executivepagan Post author

    One of the older kids in our homeschool group wrote to one of the county commissioners this week about the library cuts, and got back a long letter; the main point I took away from reading it that is broadly applicable was a statement that three economists the county had brought in to do a fiscal assessment stated we were (at best) at the midpoint of this recession, and that they expect it to last another 3-5 years.

    Gods know what will be left (if anything) of government services by then…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s