Eight States Slashing Local Funding

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8) Nevada
> Pct. decline in local funding: 5.5%
> Actual decline local funding: $215 million (16th largest)
> State budget shortfall (2010): 46.8% (3rd largest)
> Pct. change in gov’t workers per capita: -15.4% (the largest decline)

According to Pew, between December 2008 and December 2011, Nevada municipalities shed 15.4% of their combined workforce. This was the largest per-resident decline in local government employees in the entire country. In 2010, state budget plans included provisions for about $200 million in cuts to the state’s K-12 education system. The state’s fiscal policies affected municipalities severely. Teachers in Las Vegas had to agree to a one-year salary freeze in 2010 while the city of Reno planned to eliminate 94 teaching positions. North Las Vegas planned to cut 33 firefighting jobs and 93 positions at the police department in order to present the state with a balanced budget in 2010.

7) Arizona
> Pct. decline in local funding: 5.9%
> Actual decline local funding: $574 million (8th largest)
> State budget shortfall (2010): 65% (the largest)
> Pct. change in gov’t workers per capita: -7.7% (4th largest decline)

Between 2009 and 2010, the state of Arizona cut funding to localities by 5.9% while total tax revenue fell by 8.5%, according to the latest Census state government finance data. With the largest budget shortfall in the country, austerity measures have had far-reaching, negative consequences on the lives of Arizona citizens, from cuts in education to cuts in health care for the impoverished. Arizona schools, such as the Mesa Unified School District, have faced serious fiscal budget cuts since 2010, which have led to half-days for kindergarteners, decreased school maintenance and reduced computer purchasing funds.

6) California
> Pct. decline in local funding: 5.9%
> Actual decline local funding: $5.7 billion (the largest)
> State budget shortfall (2010): 52.8% (2nd largest)
> Pct. change in gov’t workers per capita: -7.4% (8th largest decline)

California’s extreme budget shortfall, which equaled 36.7% of the general fund in 2009 and 52.8% in 2010, led the state to cut local funding by $5.7 billion. For the city of Stockton, for example, this meant a 30% decrease, from 2006 to 2010, in sales tax revenue allocated from the state. This puts the city at risk of defaulting on its debt. If it does, it will join just 54 other debt-issuing municipalities in the United States — of the more than 15,000 municipalities rated by Moody’s Investor Service — that defaulted from 1970 to 2007. Also impacted by state cuts is the city of Los Angeles, which had more than 2,000 teachers working in the city’s schools lose their jobs prior to the 2009 – 2010 school year.

5) Texas
> Pct. decline in local funding: 7.4%
> Actual decline local funding: $2.2 billion (2nd largest)
> State budget shortfall (2010): 10.7% (6th smallest)
> Pct. change in gov’t workers per capita: -4.7% (tied at 22nd largest decline)

Texas had the second-largest decrease in state funding to municipalities in the U.S. between 2009 and 2010, nearly $2.2 billion. Those who bore the greatest brunt of these cuts were the students enrolled in the Texas Public School system — districts cut bus services, supplies and the number of teachers in Texas, a state where a fifth of those under 18 are from impoverished households. The Pasadena Independent School District, whose budget was cut by $350 million in 2011, is one of 300 school districts to pursue litigation against Texas for the $4.3 billion cut in funding.