Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Future State Budgets

Those of us in The City have probably already heard about the MTA's predicted $1.2 billion budget shortfall forecast for 2009. Congestion pricing has come back up as a band-aid; tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges; and raising the cost of a single ride on the subway to $3.00. Eliot Sander, chief executive of the authority, said the other day in reference to upcoming service cuts for subways and buses, "The word draconian is not inappropriate."

While Obama is not going to have much at all to do with subway service on the A-Train, there is about to be an avalanche of bad news from individual states facing massive budget shortfalls. The Center on Budget and Policy Prioriteis released a brief report on October 24 this year that began with this paragraph:

"The weak economy is generating great fiscal distress among states. Because states cannot run deficits, they must close their shortfalls by cutting spending or raising taxes. That causes two further problems. First, their spending cuts and tax increases take money out of the economy, making the downturn even worse. Second, as states have to cut back, they cannot respond to the rising need for health care and other services that occurs when workers lose jobs or are otherwise hit by the economic downturn."

The report went on to say that 27 states are facing shortfalls of $12 billion or more. New York is a part of that group of 27. As mentioned above, states can't run deficits, so that stuff you enjoy walking on everyday? Sidewalks? Yeah, we can't afford those anymore. You'll have to stick to sharing the road with whatever cars people are still able to afford to drive.

Stimulus package, please?

No comments: